March 20: Who are the populist europhobes in the “Catalan crisis”?
There are examples of anti-EU isolationism in the speeches by mainstream Spanish nationalists
WriterI have read articles in Italian papers claiming that the europhobic populist wave is not just Italy’s problem, but one that concerns the entire continent. This anti-Europe isolationist sentiment is raising its head everywhere, demanding that countries fold back onto themselves. They mention France, Germany, Brexit and “the Catalan crisis”, too. In the latter case, they do not cite any specific examples. They will struggle to find any from the pro-independence camp: its criticism of Europe is not isolationist. On the contrary, they typically ask Europe to be more active, committed, willing and able to intervene. In contrast, I could send them examples of anti-EU, populist isolationism taken from speeches by mainstream Spanish nationalists who oppose Catalan independence. Some very recent ones, too: a number of articles and statements against the ruling handed down by the European Court of Human Rights on freedom of expression in Spain and the slurs on the King of Spain, which have meant a prison sentence for the defendants. Some commentators literally asked who Europe —and the world— thought they were to tell us what to do, how we were supposed to defend our symbols and how we were meant to respect human rights. That is for us to decide, they claimed. Isolationist populism.