On Tuesday Spain’s Constitutional Court blocked the regional parliament’s declaration.
British historian Sir Antony Beevor – an expert on the Spanish civil war, still cited as relevant to today’s events – believes the separatists’ euphoria will be short-lived.
“The Catalan independence movement started to realise that they were losing support, and this was their last desperate throw,” he told euronews, citing opinion polls in recent months suggesting a significant shift against independence. “You cannot impose such major changes when you haven’t even got a majority, so this is why I don’t think it’s going to go very much further.”
He recognises however that the Spanish government faces risks in enforcing its authority, while arguing that misconceptions exist concerning its exercise of power.
“I think that (prime minister) Rajoy and the Spanish government are in a difficult position,” he said. “Most people outside Spain don’t recognise sufficiently the fact that actually the Spanish judiciary is fiercely independent, so the Madrid government does not have necessarily total control… I don’t think the central government wants to turn them (the Catalans) into victims. This has been the great game which the Catalan independence movement has been trying to play, trying to show itself as almost still the victims of Francist repression, which is preposterous: they had a very large degree of autonomy.
“Where the Catalans go from here, it’s difficult to tell – but one thing is certain: that the (December 21) elections I think will show that there is not a majority in favour of independence. And I think the world will actually breathe a slight sigh of relief, particularly the European Union.”
See the full interview with Sir Antony Beevor (recorded on Monday 30 October) here: