For eurosceptics, a lot is at stake in this election: either Madrid successfully snuffs out the independence movement, or Catalonia pursues its current course out of Spain and the EU.
Instead of pushing for mediation or supporting democratic expression, the EU has squarely rejected Catalonia’s peaceful attempts towards further autonomy. Regardless of Brussels’ justification for this, it will likely lose another generation of supporters as a result.
With the Catalan independence referendum fast approaching, there are still many unknowns. Will Catalans be able to vote? If they do, will they vote for independence? If yes, will Catalonia leave the EU? Of all the paths to European disintegration, Catalan independence is certainly the wildcard, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
Hype around the Dutch, French, and German elections this year has overshadowed what is likely an even larger threat to European integration. Spain’s Catalonia region plans to hold a referendum on secession from Spain this year. With polls showing public opinion evenly split, there is a real chance for an independent Catalonia in the coming months and years, possibly triggering the region’s exit from the European Union.