Although many people in Croatia believe that Catalonia should be able to do what Croatia itself did 25 years ago, the government does not agree.
As soon as the Catalan parliament made the decision to declare independence, the Spanish authorities in Madrid sent a letter to all EU member states, including Croatia, asking them to come out as soon as possible with a statement which should be written according to a template enclosed in the letter, reports Večernji List on October 29, 2017.
And, indeed, immediately after the proclamation of Catalan independence, many countries started issuing statements similar to the template sent from Madrid. “Nobody in the EU will recognise the decision,” said Antonio Tajani, the President of the European Parliament on Friday night.
The Croatian government commented on the situation with a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. “Croatia believes that events in Catalonia are an internal affair of Spain and advocates for democratic and peaceful solutions in line with European values. Croatia considers that the proclamation of Catalan independence was not in line with the Spanish Constitution. Croatia thinks that the best solution is one based on dialogue, with full respect for the rule of law and the protection of the rights of all citizens living in Catalonia,” the Ministry said in a statement which still did not follow the Spanish template as closely as the ones issued by some other states and institutions.
While the Croatian official policy is similar to the joint position of the whole EU, that Catalan independence is illegal and that everything which is happening is Spain’s internal issue in which Europe should not interfere, there are many different opinions, even among politicians from ruling parties.
“Let us not forget that Catalonia was among the first to give support to independent Croatia,” said Miroslav Tuđman, a Member of Parliament (HDZ). “When it came to the recognition of Croatia, the official policies of countries were against the recognition of Croatian independence, but their citizens were for recognition when they saw the aggression and brutality which Croatia faced. The official policy and public attitudes were different. There are rules of conduct of international organisations and state policies, but there is also sensitivity to a real problem which can be expressed through the position held by the general public,” added Tuđman.
Historian Ivo Banac, who claims to be the strongest advocate of Catalan independence in Croatia, thinks that Madrid’s behaviour is “an example of a kind of unhealthy centralism which has alienated many of Spain’s regions from the central government.” “That behaviour has escalated the whole situation. I do not see how this can be solved in a reasonable way. There must be a peaceful solution, but I do not see how Catalonia can be integrated into a country which has demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of Catalan interests. Of course, the Catalans have also made mistakes, and their leadership is far from ideal, but we are not talking about ideal leadership, but about principles,” said Banac, adding that he was saddened by the position of the Croatian government.
Translated from Večernji List.