The EU had one of the worst days in its existence yesterday. Across the continent evening, journals were opening to the same images: old people beaten by police whilst they were waiting in line to vote, hundreds of wounded because of police brutality, children crying…. In the end, 800 people were wounded during a day of excessive force not seen in the EU for decades.
None of the EU leaders commented, not Merkel of Germany, not May of the UK, not Macron of France, not EU Leaders Tusk or Juncker. And that is not good. The EU is always the first to point the finger whenever a dictator abuses power around the world, always wanting to be a shining beacon in a world of injustice. So this is not really exemplary.
The Catalan government declared during the night that the door had now been opened to a unilateral declaration of independence. 90% of those who voted backed independence, with a turnout of 42.3%.
Catalan leader Carles Puidgemont: "With this day of hope and suffering, the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form a republic. My government, in the next few days, will send the results of today's vote to the Catalan parliament, where the sovereignty of our people lies, so that it can act in accordance with the law of the referendum."
He criticized the European Union for not reacting to the obvious police brutality and that it could no longer "continue to look the other way".
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy also addressed the citizens of Spain, declaring that there had been no referendum, as it was not legal.
So what happens now?
Well, in fact, no one knows. Mr. Rajoy has a point, of course, the constitutional court declared the referendum illegal and 42% of voters is normally not enough. But the leadership of Catalonia said they don’t really care and will declare independence by Wednesday.
Everyone looks to Brussels today for a reaction.
What is going to be interesting is how the Scottish in the UK see this, the Flemish in Belgium, the Basques in France, the Tirolers in Italy, and so on…..
And what happens to FC Barcelona?
They've opened a Pandora's box with this. The next few days will indeed be very interesting to watch.