Is Catalonia the Canary in the Coal Mine for National Identity in Europe?

Is Catalonia the Canary in the Coal Mine for National Identity in Europe?
Pro-independence demonstrators wave an “estelada,” or Catalonian independence flag, in front of a Spanish police station, Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 3, 2017 (AP photo by Francisco Seco).

Amid all the questions and uncertainty raised by Catalonia’s independence referendum on Sunday, one point of consensus has emerged: The government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy handled it lamentably, turning what almost certainly would have been a disappointment for Catalonian separatists into a catastrophe for Madrid. The repressive run-up to the voting and heavy-handed police response on the day of the outlawed ballot have generated outrage in Catalonia and beyond, providing a major boost to what opinion polling indicated was a minority movement. Brinksmanship on both sides in the months leading up to the vote proved impossible to walk […]

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