Facade of the Church of Saint John the Baptist in Bastia, Corsica (Wikimedia Commons)
Earlier this month, a nationalist coalition called
Pè a Corsica (For Corsica) won control of the island’s regional assembly with 56.5 percent of the votes.
Pè a Corsica‘s success may certainly entail more bargaining power for the island vis-à-vis a staunchly centralist French government and it represents yet another European region seeking to forge its own path away from a dominant nation state.
But it is unlikely to lead to a Catalonia-style rebellion.
View of Perpignan, formerly the capital of Languedoc-Roussilon, France, April 1, 2016 (Jean-Pierre Dalbéra)
Catalonia’s independence referendum has aroused separatist sentiment north of the border, where a Catalan-speaking minority has long been content to live under French rule.
Northern Catalonia, or Roussillon, has been French since 1659.
Despite the presence of a small but vocal group of Catalan nationalists and a political party, the
Unitat Catalana (UC), most of the region’s inhabitants have no desire to break away.
But recent events — not just those in Spain — have given French Catalans reason to question the
status quo. Read more
Flag of the Basque Country in Getaria, Spain, April 20, 2011 (Barbara Dieu)
Attitudes in Spain’s Basque Country have mirrored Catalonia’s surge in separatism.
When the European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2010 that Spain’s Constitutional Court had been correct in declaring a Basque independence referendum illegal, the region accepted it.
But when the same Constitutional Court threw out part of Catalonia’s autonomy statute that same year, it galvanized the separatist movement.
The Catalans are now determined to vote on independence. Opponents fear a domino effect. They worry that, if the Catalans are successful, the Basque Country may push for independence next.
That seems unlikely.
A pedestrian area in Vielha, the largest town in the Aran region of Catalonia, Spain, September 21, 2015 (Joan Grífols)
The one area of Catalonia where there is remarkably less enthusiasm for independence from Spain lies in its northwest: the Val d’Aran, the only
comarca north of the Pyrenees. Read more