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
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. Read more
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