The inevitable has happened, the Catalan Parliament has voted on Friday overwhelmingly in favour of declaring independence from Spain. This declaration has hotted up the political climate and sunk the country into a deep political crisis.

A Secret Ballot was conducted and the outcome was: 70 votes in favour, 10 against, and two blanks. The vote was the last word after weeks of a long standoff with Madrid that began with a disputed referendum on October 1. The Spanish government has refused to accept the Declaration Of Independence and has vowed to trigger Article 155 and bring the recalcitrant state under direct rule.The Spanish parliament has started steps in this direction reports the BBC.

The vote

The result of the voting was welcomed in Catalina and pro-independence crowds massed outside the Parliament. They cheered and waved the Catalan separatist "Estacada" flag as the result was announced. The declaration of independence has plunged Spain into a terrible political crisis, its worst since the restoration of democracy in the 1970s. Before this, for many decades Spain was ruled by General Franco, who came to power in the mid-thirties of the last century after a civil war. Franco was supported by Germany and he ushered in a Fascist regime in Spain. Franco had decreed that after his death the monarchy would be restored in Spain.

The EU

The European Union has backed Spain and said they will not recognise the independence of Catalonia.

But in a significant statement the European Council President, Donald Tusk has said that he hoped the Spanish government will favour force of argument and not an argument of force.

It is clear the EU will not favour a military crackdown on the independence movement in Catalonia. The battle lines in Spain appear to be drawn and one wonders how things will pan out.

At the moment there appears to be no meeting point. After the vote by the Catalan parliament, their leader Carles Puigdemont said the declaration was legitimate as elected lawmakers had cast their ballots according to the mandate earned in the October 1 referendum. But he also acknowledged that the road ahead is difficult.

The future

With this declaration of independence, Catalonia has effectively splintered the EU. It may remain a part of the EU but it signals turmoil and one wonders if more areas of the EU will also ask for self-determination. Spain is on the horns of a dilemma and to counter the independence movement, it will have to take drastic steps. It appears unlikely that the status quo can be restored without a resort to military force. Another major factor could be the USA and the US president Donald Trump is ominously silent on this issue.

Perhaps the best way could be a negotiated settlement, nonetheless, the end result of such negotiations cannot be forecast. Maybe in the years to come another independent state may appear on the horizon in Europe.