European Conservatives ought to defend the sovereignty of the State. We advocate for stronger borders, we defend our nations’ stances over foreign agendas, and we celebrate our countries’ diversity within the preservation of our traditional values. These are the cornerstones of our national identities, the bedrock of our sovereignty, and the pillars of Western civilization.
It is up to European conservatives, then, to preserve the territorial integrity of our countries. That basic concept of geographical unity is what makes a nation a State—culturally and legally—each with its own diversity, but centered around that essential idea of one people and one identity above our differences.
However, Europe is seemingly embarking on a new wave of political fragmentation that threatens the very core of our supranational system of sovereign States. Once again, Spain is at the epicenter of this European tribalization. But this time its territorial integrity weakens with the acquiescence—even complicity—of the Socialist Government led by acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
Pedro Sánchez had already reached unsavory agreements with the parties who defend secessionist causes. In 2019, he negotiated the abstention of Euskal Harria Bildu from the Basque Country. Bildu has proven links with the now-extinct terrorist organization Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), which advocated for the separation of the Basque Country (and other regions, like Navarre) with the use of violent means. Bildu went so far as to including convicted—but unrepented—former terrorists to their lists in May’s regional and local elections.
The Prime Minister also pardoned the Catalan separatists responsible for the 2017 coup attempt. The Spanish government has reformed the Criminal Code to soften treasonous charges related to secession and sedition. This was to be expected, given that the votes of the Catalan left wing—from the Esquerra Republicana (ERC) Party—also proved indispensable in making Sánchez Prime Minister.
These decisions have taken a toll on the peaceful coexistence amongst Spaniards. Tensions between Madrid and Catalonia and the Basque Country have reached new heights, not seen since the days of Francisco Franco. The progressive political parties, have only agitated the already tense environment by repeatedly calling Spain “a nation of nations.” This erred notion assumes Spain’s territorial dissolution is inevitable. It assumes the fragmentation of the country is inherent. It concedes to the separatists that the bonds between different Spaniards are non-existent.
At least from the progressive side of the political spectrum, the battle for the territorial integrity is not worth fighting. Sovereignty is not an issue for the Spanish left. For some it seems easier to neglect constructive criticism, and avoid questioning the dominance of the misunderstood international agendas of development that—in the name of a misconstrued idea of social justice—advocate to meet the grievances of the groups that want to break up the State.
After the July 23 general election, the separatists have gained momentum, despite their slump in the number of MPs. Sánchez’s Socialist Party, which came out second in the general election, is now negotiating with fugitive Carles Puigdemont, who led the 2017 illegal referendum. Sánchez managed to get not just their abstention, but their favourable vote, in the election of the Spanish Congress president. This signaled his willingness to give important concessions. One of them includes Basque, Galician, and Catalan as valid languages for parliamentary procedures and as official languages of the European Union.
Language itself is being politicised for the sake of breaking the nation, when they ought to be the cultural patrimony of all Spaniards. And how ironic. The progressive left that vehemently defends diversity of all types is facilitating the segregation of the Spanish society by language and regions.
The sovereignty of Spain is at risk. To paraphrase the title of Professor Marlene Wind, Europe is once again becoming “tribalised.” Europe must play a role in stopping these renewed secessionist aspirations, and European conservatives should take the lead.
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