Venice and its wider province, the ‘Venetto’; Scotland; Brittany and Corsica in France; Flanders in Belgium, and other parts of Europe – with even a tentative move in London as a result of the Brexit vote – have been pushing for secession for years, and a Catalunya exit may well give them fuel to try the same tactics, Juncker (pictured) thinks.
He told students at a conference at Luxembourg University that he would never back Catalunya’s independence – voted for by 90% of those who cast their ballots in a ‘banned’ referendum, the total participants of which came to just over 42% of those eligible to vote – and said the domino effect could make the EU ‘impossible to govern’.
Juncker, at the conference, called for Spanish president Mariano Rajoy to restore law and order.
Although he admits that Catalunya’s becoming a separate nation is ‘not the European Commission’s business’, he says he ‘would not like it’ as ‘others would do the same’.
“I wouldn’t like a European Union in 15 years’ time made up of 90 different States,” Juncker admitted.
The Commission, as well as other Union bodies, have declared unanimously that if Catalunya does secede from Spain, it would immediately cease to be a member of the EU and would have to reapply, joining the back of the queue.
Among the long list of prerequisites for joining the Union, Catalunya would have to prove it was economically viable as a nation, which looks very unlikely.
Since the referendum, over 30 companies have moved their head offices out of the region, with some having prepared to do so months before in anticipation.