Comment 04 Oct 17

Catalonia Won’t Get Much Help From the Balkans

A number of Balkan states may have been rebellious provinces within recent memory – but don’t expect them to stick up for anyone else’s fight for self-determination.

Marcus Tanner
Thousands of people demonstrated against the confiscation of ballot boxes and charges on unarmed civilians during Sunday's referendum on Catalonia's secession from Spain. Photo: Santi Palacios/AP

The EU has been taken widely to task for its silence over the violence in Catalonia. What is just as surprising, some might say, is the even deeper silence of the individual Balkan countries.

After all, many of those states emerged only recently on to the map of Europe thanks to rebellions against the rule of larger entities – and using much the same language and arguments that the Catalans use now.

But if the comparison between Catalonia today and Croatia, Montenegro and Kosovo in the 1990s and 2000s seems fairly clear to many outsiders, it doesn’t seem so obvious to any of those countries’ governments.

One might think that Kosovo, in particular, would feel a kindred spirit for Catalonia – one [formerly] “oppressed province” rooting for another – but not a bit of it.

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