The current political crisis facing Catalonia and Spain has been long-coming. There has been a strong sense of separatism and regional identity in Catalonia, a wealthy region in the northeast of Spain, for decades. There have also been several unrecognized and unofficial referenda on independence in recent years.
The latest vote took place on October 1 in which 90 percent of 2.26 million regional voters opted for independence. Turnout was low at around 43 percent, however, and thousands of Catalans also took to the streets to protest against independence.
Puigdemont caused confusion following the vote by appearing to declare independence and then immediately suspend it, calling for dialogue with Spain, a request so far denied. His request for the European Union to mediate in the dispute has also fallen on deaf ears with the EU supporting the Rajoy government and saying it would not recognize an independent Catalonia.
Lola Sanchez, member of the European Parliament and founding member of Podemos, a party which advocates dialogue as the way to resolve the crisis, told CNBC that the European Union was wrong not to get involved and mediate between the two sides.
“We think that they should have a big voice on that but we’re seeing that that the European Union has hidden behind the flag that this is a national issue,” she told CNBC Thursday. “We think that Catalans and Spanish people are all European and Europe is supposed to be a promoter of human rights, democracy and dialogue and they’re not doing that.”
She said that neither a unilateral declaration of independence from Catalonia nor Article 155 was a solution to the crisis. “These things are not a solution, they will only deepen social unrest in Spain,” she said.