September 15, 2017
Juncker dragged into the Catalan fray
So, Jean-Claude Juncker had a chat with three youtubers on Euronews where he answered questions posed by citizens through the #AskJuncker hashtag. Inevitably Catalonia came up, and inevitably Juncker's answer got distorted in every possible way. The headlines about what Juncker said tells us more about the headline writer than about him. Juncker restated the EU's long-established position that it defers to member states' constitutions on internal matters, and that an independent Catalonia would have to reapply for EU accession. But he also said the EU would respect a 'yes' vote on independence, which is what the brouhaha is all about.
If you're a Catalan separatist, Juncker said the EU would respect a 'yes' result in an independence vote. If you're a Spanish unionist, Juncker said the EU respects and follows the decision of the Spanish parliament and its constitutional court - which, as is well known, reject the October 1st referendum. If you want to play the project-fear game, Juncker said that an independent Catalonia would find itself outside the EU. Everyone is happy, except the Commision's press service who had to spend the next day fielding emails from journalists asking for clarification.
"We have always said on the subject that we would follow and respect the rulings of the Spanish constitutional court and parliament. But it is obvious that if a “yes” for Catalan independence comes to pass – which we’ll have to wait and see – we would respect that choice. But Catalonia could not become an EU member the day after the vote."
To butcher Wittgenstein: whereof one cannot speak in a single tweet without subordinate clauses, thereof one must be silent.