16:47 GMT +319 November 2019
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    Supporters of an independant state of Catalonia and Republicans display a huge Catalan flag. File photo

    EU 'Will Force' Spain to Recognize Catalonia as Independent State

    © AFP 2019 / QUIQUE GARCIA
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    Catalonia will hold regional elections on September 27. A coalition of pro-independence parties has pledged to set the processes in motion for the autonomous region to separate from Spain by organizing an official independence referendum if they won a majority.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The European Union will force Madrid to recognize a Catalonian secession from Spain should local parliament and government agencies in the region unilaterally declare independence, the coordinator of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) in the State of Florida told Sputnik.

    According to ANC's Julia Strubell, Brussels would "force Spain to recognize Catalonia's independence… as the EU does not want a long drawn out political and economic conflict inside its borders."

    She added that hypothetical Catalan membership in the bloc is a separate issue but "a pragmatic organization like the EU will not want a wild state, which China, for instance, would love as a European partner."

    "The agreement [between the bloc and the Catalan authorities] will come quick, either in the form of freedom of movement or full membership," Strubell pointed out.

    Many in Catalonia have long sought independence from Spain, accusing Madrid of constraining the region's economic and cultural autonomy and of unfairly distributing resources in the country.

    Over 80 percent of Catalans who participated in an unofficial November 2014 vote supported seceding from Spain. More than two million people out of an estimated 5.4 million eligible voters took part in the informal, non-binding ballot. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has repeatedly said that Catalonia’s secession would be illegal.

    "After over two years living in the United States, I have seen clear support for democracy among American people. In this freedom-oriented country, it is hard for them to understand why Catalonia hasn’t been allowed to decide its own future through a referendum, as Quebec or Scotland," Julia Strubell said.

    Commenting on potential international recognition of Catalan independence, should it be declared by local authorities there, Strubell said that smaller states are more likely to be the first to acknowledge the step.

    "I imagine (without any inside information!) that smaller countries would be the first to recognize Catalonia’s independence. Ireland, Denmark, Baltic States, Slovenia, Israel…" the ANC coordinator in the State of Florida said.

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