“If the Spanish authorities deny Catalonia the right to negotiate its right to decide within the Spanish political framework, then the only path left for the Catalan authorities is to convene a referendum on self-determination.” This was the clear message issued by a group of international experts who have studied the political conflict between Catalonia and the Spanish State for months and prepared the report “Catalonia’s legitimate right to decide: paths to self-determination”, to which this newspaper has had access. These scholars, who are professors at universities in the United States, Switzerland, France and Portugal, have analysed the Catalan case from the perspective of both legality and legitimacy and compared it with international law and other independence processes. The conclusion they have come to is that the Act protecting the referendum on October 1 complies with the essential requirements for the vote to be considered valid.
The experts note that since the arrival of democracy in Spain in 1977, relations between the Spanish government and the Generalitat have deteriorated as the need to “accommodate Catalan territorial demands” have been ignored. This explains, according to the report, why many Catalans have gone from defending autonomy to advocating independence.
The group also adds that no international law or treaty prohibits a territorial entity from voting in a referendum on its future, and that several EU regulations in fact state that if a country becomes independent, “the EU and its member states will react positively to a new European state’s application to join the EU.”