Monday, October 9, 2017

Catalania as a State in the E.U.

When Catalania held a referendum on whether to break off from the E.U. state of Spain, the E.U.’s basic law was silent on whether a state’s region would be a new state. The Prodi Doctrine, however, states that a region seceding from a state is automatically no longer part of the European Union. Such a region would have to apply for statehood as if it had been outside of the Union. I submit that such a stance is problematic.
Firstly, “using the euro as a Catalan currency could prove problematic.”[1] Disentangling the region more generally from the Union economically would face formidable challenges. The free movement of workers, for instance, would no longer be possible.
Secondly, to become a state, Catalania would face the unfair hurdle of needing the ok of every extant state, meaning that formerly Spanish region would need the permission of the Spanish government. The latter would likely exploit the conflict of interest that would be involved. Generally speaking, a party to a secession dispute should not be able to veto statehood for a former region of the state. Considering how many states were in the E.U. at the time of Catalania’s referendum on Catexit, the federal requirement that every extant state approve any proposed statehood is problematic. More generally, giving every state a veto even on a matter of basic (i.e., constitutional law) hampers the interests of the federal level of governance. I submit, therefore, that a two-thirds majority is a more viable (and fairer) requirement for the role of the states in cases of proposed states. Spain and other states friendly to the state would not so easily exclude Catalan out of resentment or political vengeance at the expense of the E.U.

[i] Damian Grammaticas, “Could the EU Throw Out an Independent Catalonia?”, October 9, 2017.

On conflicts of interest in government (and business), see: Institutional Conflicts of Interest.