Protest against the arrest of two Catalan separatist leaders Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Europe’s Attackers From Within

Catalonia's illegal bid for independence, like the United Kingdom's ill-fated Brexit referendum, amounts to a historical absurdity. After decades of bloodletting in the twentieth century, and in view of competition with economies like the US, China, and India, the need for deeper European integration in the twenty-first century should be obvious.

BERLIN – Europe finally appears to have moved past its multi-year economic crisis, but it remains unsettled. For every reason for optimism, there always seems to be a new cause for concern.

In June 2016, a slim majority of British voters chose nostalgia for the nineteenth-century past over whatever promise the twenty-first century might have held. So they decided to jump off a cliff in the name of “sovereignty.” There is much evidence to suggest that a hard landing awaits the United Kingdom. A cynic might point out that it will take a properly functioning “sovereignty” to cushion the impact.

In Spain, the government of the autonomous region of Catalonia is now demanding sovereignty, too. But the current Spanish government is not prosecuting, imprisoning, torturing, and executing the people of Catalonia, as Generalissimo Francisco Franco’s dictatorship once did. Spain is a stable democracy and a member of the European Union, the eurozone, and NATO. For decades now, it has maintained the rule of law in accordance with a democratic constitution that was negotiated by all parties and regions, including Catalonia.

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