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Dick Nichols, Barcelona

By some estimates, more than 1 million people came out across Catalonia on
September 11 for Catalonia’s national day (the *Diada*) to show their
support for Catalan sovereignty and — for most present — for Catalan
independence from the Spanish state.

For a region of about 7.5 million people, it was an impressive turn out for
the fifth annual mass mobilisation for Catalan statehood since 2012. The
demonstrations were once again organised by the Catalan National Assembly
(ANC) and the Catalan cultural association Omnium Cultural — confirming
that this social movement remains easily the largest in Europe.

Posing a threat to the Spanish state, it will become an increasingly
critical issue for a European Union reeling under the blows of Brexit, its
brutal handling of refugees and its economic stagnation.

For how long can the rulers of the EU maintain the fiction that the Catalan
national question is simply a domestic issue for the Spanish state while
Spain’s rulers deny Catalonia a Scottish-style referendum?

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