Stockholm, Sweden | Debate about Catalonia in Stockholm
A Swedish expert questions that an independent Catalonia would remain outside the EU
The Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat), together with the Swedish think tank Arena Idé, organized this Wednesday the academic conference "Self-determination within the European Union: the case of Catalonia". The event was held at the headquarters of Arena Idé in Stockholm, in a room filled with fifty people.
Welcome and Keynote speech
Albert Royo, secretary general of Diplocat, welcomed the attendees and held the opening speech, entitled "Towards an independent Catalonia within the EU?". Royo reviewed the events of recent years and gave keys to interpreting the current political momentum, one month ahead of the referendum on October 1. He also underlined that "Europe should avoid the paradox that implies that countries that have achieved independence with violent processes are fully embedded in the international community, while Catalonia wants to exercise the right of self-determination in a peaceful and democratic way and is being underestimated and blocked in political and legal terms”.
Roundtable and discussion
A round table followed with Niklas Bremberg, research fellow from the European Program of the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI), and Josep Costa, an associate professor of the Department of Political and Social Sciences at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. The moderation was led by Lisa Pelling, analyst at Arena Idé, who said that discussions like this are an important part of their mission.
Bremberg talked about the conflict between legality and legitimacy raised by the Catalan case and concluded that "if Catalonia really wants to have influence within the EU, it must become an independent state". Regarding the permanence of an independent Catalonia within the EU, he was very skeptical that "7.5 million of EU citizens can be expelled".
Josep Costa also referred to the tensions between legality and legitimacy in cases of internal self-determination, when a collective demands the independence of a part of the legally constituted state. Costa questioned the option to use force to guarantee the unity of a state and also said that "a Constitution cannot act as a straitjacket for the citizens of a territory". According to him, the Catalan case is a challenge and an opportunity for the EU, "which will have to prove whether it is a federation in constant evolution or just a club of states".
In partnership with:
Arena Idé is an independent think tank primarily funded by the Swedish trade union movement. Founded in 2000, Arena Idé focuses on three thematic areas: economic policy, labour market policy and welfare and democracy issues.
The activities of the think tank include the publication of books, reports and shorter texts, the organisation of seminar and events, and outreach activities to policy makers and the media.
Arena Idé is a part of Arenagruppen, which also consists of the cultural magazine Arena and the web-based daily newspaper Dagens Arena.
Last updated: 13 September 2017