The pro-independence alliance Junts Pel Si came in first place in regional elections in Catalonia last month, leading Catalan President Artur Mas to declare he has public backing for an independence referendum. Madrid will not allow that but is open to constitutional reform giving more power to Catalonia.
Recent armed clashes in Tajikistan have raised new questions about Central Asia’s stability, just as China is deepening its role in the region and tying it to major trade and investment initiatives. Beijing is reluctant to get tangled in a Central Asian security crisis, but is still pursuing its big plans.
During his address to the U.N. General Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin cited plans to link the troubled Russian-backed Eurasian Economic Union with China’s Silk Road Economic Belt, an ambitious development initiative in Eurasia. The merger is a last-gasp effort at relevance for the union.