Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, today warned that a unilateral declaration of independence would condemn Catalonia to “drift through space without recognition and would be excluded from the EU forever.”
García-Margallo made these declarations in a discussion following the presentation of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, at a breakfast organized by the New Economy Forum.
The head of the Spanish diplomacy called on Catalan separatists to extract “lessons” from the unilateral secession of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are only recognized by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and “three Pacific microstates.” These two territories, he added, are in a “legal limbo” that prevents them from accessing the International Monetary Fund and other international organizations, were they to have a public debt problem.
García-Margallo acknowledged that the Spanish government “is deeply concerned” by the possibility of a unilateral declaration of independence by Catalonia but stressed it would actually be “particularly serious” for Catalonia because it would “set back” this community “for a long time.” The minister also stressed that “It is time to recognize, declare, advertize and let them know about the risks to which a population, that is essentially European, would have to face.”
The minister also pointed out that the right to decide is “always exercised within the rules” and pointed out that the doctrine of the United Nations recognizes the prevalence of self-determination on the principle of territorial integrity of states in three assumptions: colonial territories, being subject to military occupation or where the fundamental rights of its citizens are not recognized.
Therefore, he argued, Catalonia would not get recognition from the international community, and without this, the EU could not even “consider” possible application of Catalonia to join the EU, because article 49 of the Union Treaty says “those territories wishing to join the European Union” should be “internationally recognized.”
In addition, the minister called to mind that the acceptance of a request for admission to the Union by a new state must be approved unanimously by the 28 European partners. Unanimity is also needed to advance on the negotiation for every chapter as well as for final membership.