Thursday, 9 September 2010

Serbia drops UN challenge to Kosovo independence and its relevance to Catalonia

English newspaper "The Guardian" informs us that Serbia has agreed to make last minute U-turn in its wish to reverse, question or invalidate Kosovo's independence at the United Nations. The debate had to take place at the UN general assembly on September 9th but Serbians dropped the challenge only hours before the hearing.

Serbia, then, bowed to pressure from European and US diplomacy, clearing the way for a settlement between Belgrade and Kosovo leadership and the Serbians joining the EU, which would have been compromised should Serbia had kept the challenge to Kosovo's independence. Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, pressed Serbian President Boris Tadic to agree on a "last-chance" formula acceptable to the rest of Europe. Joe Biden, US vice-president, reinforced the message.

Kosovo declared unilateral independence from Serbia in 2008, which has not recognized the new State. Since then, Serbia lost a case at the International Court of Justice that ruled the secession did not breach international law.

The ruling by the ICJ and the intercession of the EU and the US, to stop Serbians from invalidating the independence of its former Republic, will be very useful to Catalonia when we declare our independence. We have now the precedent of the most influent international diplomacies mediating and negotiating for the recently formed European State, not the former, Serbia. It will certainly break mental schemes of a lot of people, always scared to take the step for freedom and independence, probably due to so many years of having to bow in front of the oppressor Spain and France.

Europe and the US show us that the modern day diplomacy may help the new democratic countries, if they make themselves interesting to the World powers. Catalonia must work towards establishing international networks and lobbies throughout the world, especially US, Europe and Israel. And it has to be made soon, because Catalonia will be the next State in Europe.

Jordi Margalef Turull
Catalunya Acció UK

Information taken from "The Guardian". Click here to read original article.


  1. A fabulous precedent! I am certain Catalans will be delighted to "make themselves interesting to the World powers" just like the Kosovan Albanians did, and I offer myself to make a list of all those Catalans who declare their will to get shot, raped and/or have their houses burnt down.

    I do have to advise, however, that this does not fall under the category of "modern day diplomacy" (or at least so I hope).

  2. I will try another wording, and I will try to accomodate you as much as I can:

    Are you willing, like the Albanians of Kosovo, to sacrifice the lives of your wife and kids for independence?

  3. Only a fool would like to sacrifice the lives of his wife and kids for independence. However, it does not stop him from wishing the independence of his country more than ever.
    Especially when he knows that the support for separation of his Nation from Spain and France is growing day by day in his homeland.
    If you like to give up your life, even for Catalonia -my Nation-, please look for another place. Catalunya Acció will never search for suicidal men or women who want to perturb the democratic ways in which we have committed to achieve our independence. Nor we shall look for delators who, disguised as enthusiast supporters for independence, elaborate complicated lists of people to pass them on to the police and the secret services. If this is your case, you would be glad to know that you will not be the only one.
    Anyhow, the members of Catalunya Acció will always sign with name and surname so we should be always be identified even before committing atrocious crimes such as summoning polls, ballots and plebiscites for independence.
    As many as necessary until our final victory.

  4. Yeah, obviously I was not at all being ironic with my offer to make that list.

    I should learn one day not to use humour with the humourless. Let me rehearse that right away:

    The Albanians of Kosovo shed their blood for independence. There is no similarity with Catalonia. No precedent. Kosovo means absolutely nothing for Catalan independence.

  5. Oh, I have to hand you this one, Kosovo was not a republic of Serbia, as you write, but an autonomous province and thus, only thus, a bit comparable to the status of Catalonia within Spain.

    But considering your ignorance on the matter (farway countries behind the Pyrenees and so on) I strongly advise you to stick to writing about things you know.

  6. Effectively, I have no sense of humour when I talk about this matter. And I was not ironic about your offer of making that list either. You can include me in there, as well as each one of the members of Catalunya Acció. However, you might find that we are already known because we do not hide behind nicknames, pseudonyms or false names like you.
    With regards as to what similarities we find in the Kosovar independence, you obviate that was the Kosovar people, through their Parliament as it was democratically elected by them, who declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. Fact that was challenged at the International Court of Justice, which sentenced in favour of Kosovo -and the future Nations, like Catalonia, that will democratically declare its Independence through its Parliament- and then Serbia dropped its challenge in front of the UN as above mentioned.
    Election, democracy, Parliament. That is the way Catalonia will achieve its independence. War, rape, murder, ethnic cleansing and so do not have entry in our dictionary nor will happen. Is that clear?

  7. When have I said that Kosovo was a Republic of Serbia? I have read and read the initial post again and I cannot find it.
    Perhaps you need spectacles?

  8. "The ruling by the ICJ and the intercession of the EU and the US, to stop Serbians from invalidating the independence of its former Republic", I thought there you refer to Kosovo.

    And, comeooooooooon, you cannot just refer to the parliament of Kosovo and not talk about how it came about. This is utter nonsense. Kosovo has a very specific history, that offers very specific conditions, and one very specific result was the reconition of its independence.

    Er... and no, it's not clear: It is never clear that bloodshed will not happen, not in a situation where two rivalling nationalisms fight over the same territory.

    But you can stop the issue of "the list" already. In words even you understand: I was joooking.

  9. If you are so worried about bloodshed, you better speak to the Spaniards and tell them that it is more convenient for them to respect the democratic will of the Catalan people than try to impose the old ways of blood and fire. In any case, Spain is tied by the UN, EU, NATO, OECD and since this year, the ICJ to unleash their armies against Catalonia despite they are more than willing to use them.
    Of course, each country has its own History, that offers very specific conditions and its specific results. Or is Catalonia claiming England's or Germany's heritage, for instance? As the answer is "no", because we are not claiming any foreign heritage, Catalonia will have to follow its own democratic process, independently from what happened two years ago in Kosovo, four years ago in Montenegro, or nineteen years ago in Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania.
    Then, be sure that the principles cited in the sentence by the ICJ will be applied to Catalonia in the near future. It has created a body of law that will be surely upheld by us, and due to the highness of the institution that created it, is very unlikely that any individual State -especially the self-regarded as democracies- will refute.
    And to finish, no member of Catalunya Acció has any kind of sense of humour when somebody mocks about their country. Similar attitude, however, is shown by Spaniards or French in similar situations. If you do not believe me, use a Spaniard as sparring and tell him or her a joke against Spain and see his or her reactions.
    It has been long enough for us to have to ask for permission to exist. Now we shall take our rights to be free.

  10. I was you who brought Kosovo up, so I had to remind you of the implications. And it is a sign of the times that you live more in a collective entity than as an individual, a result of which is that you see your tribe "mocked" when you are being criticised individually, and viceversa.

    Any collectivist attitude or tribalism is prone to vulnerate my rights as an individual, and in this sense I see no difference between Catalan and centralist Spanish nationalisms.

    So you can bet that my attitude towards either of them always remains the same.

  11. I appreciate your comments and the debate we have had on this subject. as you can probably tell I am quite sensitive on the subject of independence for my country and may have taken some of your comments as not intended by yourself. We are sure that independence can be achieved without bloodshed and violence, but know that after nearly 300 years, and more than 350 in the North, as one country some people may not be as keen to see Spain as the would put it "ripped apart" as it is for them all they have ever known. We are sure some find this situation frightening.
    Despite our history at times with the Spanish government I hope that when we achieve independence their will be a time that the two countries can co-exist in a closer more friendly relationship. It is not our intention to antagonise or have violence with Spain and France. The world has enough blood shed already but for us our heritage as Catalans is important as is the hope of having a country of our own again.
    We hope that in the future when we have independence we will all benefit from rights as individuals.

  12. The situation is frightening.

    You personally may very well have the ideals that suit you most, but local politicians, media and many university professors should take into consideration the larger picture and the wellbeing of the citizens, instead of curtailing our freedom, neglecting the rule of law and engaging in adventures that will not bring many real-life improvements but could well lead to desaster.

    You should be worried too.

  13. Refuting your theory of "Balcanization", two Spanish politicians from Catalonia, one of them Minister of Work and Immigration, have threatened that if Catalonia becomes independent, the process will be "traumatic". Of course, no answer from the mainstream official establishment, the ones who will lose their privileges when we are independent. Only new politicians, have raised their voices against this "call to arms" by such important character in such a "democratic State" that is Spain.
    Do you believe in democracy? What kind of democrat appeal to fear in order to maintain his benefits and honours?
    Of course you are free to think and making your own mind as you like.

  14. I must need spectacles, because I cannot find where I spoke of "Balcanization".

    I also fail to see the threat. I would need the right spectacles for that.

    And if there had been a threat, then you could actually speak of "Balcanization". But you refuted the existence of such a thing.

    Has anybody ever told you that you're politically brilliant?

  15. I am going to laugh out loud now!

    You do not speak of "threat of war" and "people getting shot-raped-killed" -now-. Since you spoke of "wellbeing of the citizens" and "neglecting the rule of law".

    Right, then. How can I be worried about the "Balcanization of Catalonia" if yourself fail to see a threat? Or is it that, perhaps, you are more worried than me about my country?

    If that is the case, I told you to speak to your Spanish relatives, friends or acquaintances if you have, to respect the democratic wish of Catalonia. In their best interests.

  16. Oh, first I have to say I'm sorry for not making clear that I'm not Spanish. My bad. I'm a European expat living in Catalonia.

    I do not know if I worry more than you, dear Sir. Yet I can safely say that I do worry, because I live here. (After all, officially, or semi-officially, I'm a New Catalan.)

    As to my analysis of the present situation, I am not speaking of a Balkanisation. Yet. At this point of time I see more differences than similarities; as I have insisted above.

    And as to my attitude towads both Catalan and centralist Spanish nationalisms I have also to go back to something else I said already: "So you can bet that my attitude towards either of them always remains the same. "

    I see no differences in these nationalisms. But to the practical effect, I also see that Catalan nationalist leaders are the ones who take their people into a very unsavoury adventure.

    Which is why I said that you, a citizen like me, should be worried, too.

  17. And I worry for my country too, although I do not live in Catalonia. But in a different way. I worry that my closest family have to wait for months for a consultation in hospital; that every month, their pensions become lower and lower; that they have to pay extra taxes on petrol and water; that the trains might stop working at any moment because failures in the energy supply; that the roads are small and are inadequate for the amount of traffic existent; that they may become unemployed because the firm they work for cannot struggle any longer; that are still thousands of schools operating in barracks, and so.
    As an officially New Catalan -Spain does not understand 'semi-officially'-, I have to warn you that Spain is treating you in the same way as they are treating my relatives. Not because you came from abroad you will be taxed differently or be allowed to abide by different laws.
    And I have insisted that the threat of violence is non-existent in case of the independence of Catalonia. Perhaps you do not know, but the process of our independence has already begun in the form of unofficial ballots celebrated in a lot of municipalities of the Principality of Catalonia and over a hundred Town Halls declaring themselves "excluded from the Spanish Constitution". The most of them have given a result of at least 90% of the ballot papers for independence. Only a few very minor verbal incidents -always towards the volunteers at the ballot tables-, there are always a few intolerant people around, but not a single shot -or kill-.
    And History shows us that in situations like this is better to bite the bullet in time and act quickly. We did not say it was an easy task, and not exempt from difficulties. But for that, a new generation of politicians is necessary. Characters who are able to speak clearly and do not give way in front of the Spaniards. People who are able to defend the interests of the Catalans -and that includes you-, and be their advocates. For their freedom, interests and wellbeing, in a civilized, controlled and democratic manner.

  18. I am only called a New Catalan. That much interference I have to endure into even the definition of my very self.

    I see no tolerance in this, but its opposite.

    Will you please take into account that the world is more complex, and that one of the results of this fact is that there is no majority for the independence of Catalonia.

    You can dream of it, but complex Catalonia is the wrong place for simplistic answers to complex problems. And I say so with all respect for the grievances you have described, and which we share.

  19. Catalonia is as complex as we want to see it. Or as simple and straight forward. It all depends on our interpretation of the facts.
    And the facts are that every day, more and more Catalans "come out" and break with the mental schemes that "we have to belong to Spain to exist".
    As you say that "there is no majority for the independence of Catalonia", I show you this survey that actually demonstrates the opposite.
    There are a few more, and all of them show an increase on the numbers of supporters of independence.
    It is then, what you want to believe. And how.

  20. We can feed each other competing opinion polls ad nauseam. The real field test up to now is the "civil society referendum", which is constantly getting around 20% participation. You do not show your support for independence by staying on the couch.

  21. Has this "real field civil society referendum" happened? No, as it is not legal in the Spanish Constitution. And we think this referendum is not necessary.

    Was the independence of Kosovo legal as per the Serbian Constitution? No, either. Any difference in that respect with respect to Catalonia-Spain or Kosovo-Serbia? Not a single one.

    Differences Catalonia-Kosovo. In Kosovo, in 2008, there were Presidential elections, new President was elected, new rules were proclaimed, including the unilateral declaration of independence, which was contested via the ICJ and then the UN by the Serbians. Neither institution has ruled against Kosovo, therefore, the International Community agrees with the unilateral independence of Kosovo, and so will agree with the independence of Catalonia.

    In Catalonia, though, there is no political party in the Parliament brave enough to declare our independence. The electors want it, the politicians do not.

  22. Dear Sir, I beg you to take note of the differences: the Kosovo straw poll attracted a huge participation, the participation in the Catalan straw poll is rapidly declining below 10%.

    In both cases the referendum was not official.

    If you do not take this into consideration and instead continue to claim that independence is wanted by a majority of the Catalan population, you not only incur in a propaganda that grossly misrepresents reality, you are also fooling yourself with a wishful thinking that keeps you from tackling the issue to your advantage and you expose yourself to ridicule in the eyes of an international audience you are certainly aiming at considering your use of English on this blog.

  23. There are some things I do not understand. Why are you mixing what happened some 19 years ago, that unofficial ballot, with their actual independence, which took place two years ago? The unofficial poll in Kosovo is dated from 1991. Their independence is from 2008. Neither Kosovo nor Catalonia achieved independence from these "referendums", which are collecting a rate of positive vote of 90% in the worst of cases.

    Has one of these polls taken place in your town? Have you voted, as you were allowed to do so? Or have you been reading too much Spanish press?

    And one more question, who do you fear violence from? It cannot be from Catalans, we have no Armed Forces, and the use of firearms is heavily regulated. It may only be from the Spanish side. So that I would suggest that, being a "New Catalan", if you felt uncomfortable or threatened in any way in Catalonia due to our separatism, consider to move elsewhere.

  24. Get real! Participation is the measure, not the approval rate.

    I feel violated by your suggestion that I move elsewhere. Such a thing is of my very own decision.

    If you are unable to accept criticism to your advantage, ammending and improving your own stance, then you are of a closed mindset and I have nothing more to say to you.

    (Anywhere outside of Catalonia) you will not get very far with this attitude.

    And to answer your question: I fear violence from your side as much as from any other. Don't give me shit about Catalans being totally pacifist: we have had Terra Lliure and we have the Maulets and the likes. I buy not into the lie that only one party is prepared for violence. I've been here long enough.

  25. As you say, you have thought that we were giving you shit from the beginning. Regardless of what reason I gave you, and whatever the topic we talked about. First with Kosovo, then with the implications of that process with the independence of Catalonia and later with the polls.

    Then, you started complaining of the "possibility of violence", especially coming from Catalonia. Actually, we are very pleased that we are still able to make people think we will handle arms. Even though we have been colonized 350 years by France in the North, 303 in Valencia and 296 in the Principality. Because they have not been able to assimilate us completely, not even in the North.

    Second, and to your knowledge. Catalunya Acció has never called to arms, and so have never any of the political parties supporting independence that will contest in the elections later in November, Reagrupament or Solidaritat Catalana. But if you think, as a New Catalan from abroad, that with words we cause the same effect than with arms and weapons, then we are in the right track, and we are accomplishing each and every one of our objectives. Once more, if you have been "here" long enough, you must have grasped the difference between serious political alternatives and groups for youngsters more attracted to "being young", "communist revolution", "change the World" and so than real politics.

    Did you find our style provocative? I am sorry, but... it has been a pleasure to discuss this matter with you.

  26. I have to apologise for my choice of words. I'm a bit too revolted sometimes.

    In any case, I am not accusing anyone of the use of physical violence or plans to that extent. What I am worried about is that the situation could get out of control, and more effort has to be spent to address this problem.