CATALONIA’S bid for independence has been ruthlessly crushed.
The referendum has been ruled illegal, nine members of the regional government are in prison, while former leader Carles Puigdemont and four colleagues have fled to Belgium.
They face extradition by Spain, using a European Arrest Warrant.
Most interestingly, the silence from the EU is deafening.
But why would they come to Catalonia’s rescue?
The EU wants closer political and financial union, not the break-up of member countries.
Crucially, Spain is a valued member of the EU, with Catalonia alone producing 25 per cent of her exports and a fifth of her GDP.
I do hope that Nicola Sturgeon and her fellow nationalists are taking note of the way the EU has handled Catalonia’s brief foray into nationhood.
It can be a perilous path, and one that the EU will simply not support.
And it’s this intransigence that will, in the end, mark the end of the EU.
I believe that the actions of many Catalonians are spurred on by a feeling of helplessness.
People are not stupid, and while a small, political elite wish to create a new country called the EU, millions of ordinary citizens are saying enough is enough.
The UK is increasingly seen as a shining example of a country prepared to stand up for herself and this is proving to be a powerful incentive to others.
The genie is out of the bottle and the EU is worried, and so it should be.
It’s ironic that an institution that professes to promote peace across Europe is actually causing civil unrest in its member countries.
This is not the rise of political extremes, as many journalists and commentators would have you believe, this is the rise of freedom-loving people who believe in democracy, not bureaucracy.