Lead image by Toshiko Sakurai
Extradition Request Violates Schengen
It's amusing how mainstream media has heaped tons of praise on Mariano Rajoy's handling of the Catalonia independence vote. His handling has been totally inept and it is about to bring down the Belgium government.
The issue in play is the Schengen agreement that governs political asylum. Without a doubt, the Catalan leaders in exile cannot get a fair trial in Spain.
Eurointelligence notes there is a limited list of crimes to which the European Arrest Warrant applies but none of the three crimes Puigdemont is indicted for - rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds - are on that list.
Politically, this is a nightmare for the Belgian government, a complicated four-party coalition under the liberal Charles Michel, who is now in an open clash with the radical Flemish party N-VA. Its leader Bart de Wever confirmed his support for Puigdemont yesterday, saying that he is a welcome friend who should not be let down. This comes shortly after the prime minister insisted that Puigdemont came without a political invitation, but as an individual using the rights granted under Schengen.
No Chance of Fair Trial
Eurointelligence is strongly against independence, yet accurately concludes Catalans Cannot Get a Fair Trial.
"It is clear that dismissed Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont is in Brussels to seek a headline that says: Belgian courts rule that Spain does not guarantee a fair trial. And, after yesterday's events in Spain's National Court, he's almost guaranteed to get it. This is the stuff of nightmares for the Spanish government, which so far enjoys the unwavering support of its European partners; and for the Belgian Prime Minister, who is tottering on the brink of a government crisis as it is."
Catalan Separatism Energised Again
The political consequences of the imprisonment of the entire dismissed Catalan cabinet - save for the five members of it that are in Brussels - will be severe. Yesterday there were spontaneous demonstrations in Catalonia, and pot-banging has returned. There are calls for a general strike next week. And the odds that there will be a single non-partisan "civic" list encompassing all separatist parties, and members of the grass-roots, have risen considerably. In the current mood, this could possibly also include members of the fence-sitting Catalan ally of Podemos, and even members of the Catalan socialists.
Before yesterday, there were reports that Mariano Rajoy was hoping to regain the support of the Basque Nationalist Party PNV for his 2018 budget. The PP would hope to improve its result in the regional elections, potentially entering into a coalition with other unionist parties. According to the noted parliamentary correspondent Fernando Garea, the government did not count on a deal with the PNV until after the Catalan election, but a budget deal in January would be a precondition for Rajoy being able to serve a full term. Otherwise, early elections beckon. The implication must be that now early elections are on the horizon.
Rajoy Will Not Survive
As I said in the beginning, Rajoy will not survive his inept handling of the independence vote. In fact he fueled it. Suppression of basic rights will not work, no matter how much the EU buries its head.
A few days ago Eurointelligence mocked Puigdemont's speech in Brussels as a "circus". The real circus act is by Rajoy, the Madrid courts, and the EU.
If you mistakenly believe Spain is in the right, please read Uncharted Territory, Spain to Take Over Catalonia Government: What's the Libertarian Position?
No real Libertarian can support Madrid.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock