Can Catalonia enter the EU after its independence from Spain?
Catalonia is a region of Spain where a big part of the population wants to be independent from Spain and form its own nation. If that happens, at the beginning, Catalonia as a nation will be out of the EU.
Could Catalonia quickly join the EU after that?
Can Catalonia alone fulfil the requirements?
Is there a minimum period of time Catalonia must wait? Or does it depend only on economical and political factors?
One does not simply walk into the EU. First and probably biggest problem would be that EU member states do not want to support the idea of (European) nations splitting up (that somewhat clashes with the whole "union" idea) so there would be no political will to support Catalonia.
There were many questions about that, related to Scotland independence referendum: https://politics.stackexchange.com/questions/2558/what-will-scotlands-status-in-the-eu-be-assuming-scots-vote-for-independence, https://politics.stackexchange.com/questions/12732/would-the-spanish-peoples-party-have-the-capacity-to-veto-scotlands-entry-to-t?rq=1, https://politics.stackexchange.com/questions/11462/under-eu-law-can-scotland-remain-or-be-re-admitted-to-the-eu-after-brexit-while
The answers for these questions are split into 2 possibilities. Scotland will be allow because it wants to negotiate, has economic stability and the laws are almost the same or it will not be allow because other countries will block their entry because they don´t support the secession idea. Any further though?
As I understand it, potentially yes, but I cannot imagine Spain taking them spitting in their eye by declaring independance, and then taking the EU spitting in their eye and allowing Catalonia in. Unless Catalonia is of more value to the EU than Spain is. Because Spain is not really in a position to stand up to the EU and say, "We are taking our ball and going home" like Britain did.
@SoylentGray the issue being that Spain does not need to stand up to the EU, as new members must be approved **unanimously**.
@SJuan76 - But if they cast the single no vote do not think there would not be repercussions, again assuming that Catalonia is more valuable to the EU than the rest of Spain is.
Aren't both the Czech Republic and Slovakia members of the EU? Why should Catalonia/Spain, or Scotland/Britain be different? (Ignoring Brexit, of course.)
@jamesqf, As I recall, Czechoslovakia wasn't in the EU and their split into two countries was more amicable than any potential Spain/Catalonia (or UK/Scotland) split.
@SoylentGray, I think you misunderstand what "unanimously" means. If Spain in the European Council does not agree to accept a new member then membership will not be granted; a single "no" vote is enough.
@EikePierstorff - I get that. But that vote will not be cast in a vacuum. Lets use the security council as an example. Any time the US or Russia (or any other permanent member) veto's something they spend some political capitol. At some point a country owes more than they are worth and the rest decide its time to work around them. Spain does not have US type political capitol. If the rest of the EU wants catalonia in bad enough Spain may have no choice but to step aside and let them in. Thats not going to happen but its a potential
I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it requires speculation about future events which is off topic.
Stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities;
A functioning market economy and the capacity to cope with competition and market forces;
Administrative and institutional capacity to effectively implement the acquis and ability to take on the obligations of membership
Once they demonstrate they can meet all these criteria they enter into a series of negotiations with the European Union, which can take several years judging by past standards. It is worth noting this may be pushed back several years, as the EU are currently strung up with some of the "most complicated negotiations of all time", regarding Britain imminent withdrawal from the EU.
Once they have finished negotiations with the EU and demonstrate they can comply with all the EU's standards and rules
They must then seek
The consent of the EU institutions and EU member states
The consent of their citizens – as expressed through approval in their national parliament or by referendum
It is worth noting that for Catalonia to be allowed to become a member state they must have unanimous consent from all EU member states. Traditionally EU member states would be unlikely to support such a move if it risks antagonising Spain, who may also potentially block such a move.
Thanks for your detailed answer! Do you think it will fullfill the economic criteria after years of negotiation and being out of EU?
@Ivan it may dependent on how it's run, its trade policies, its economy, etc. You don't have to be a rich country to join the EU, it simply means your economic institutions must be compatible with the EU's . That being said, being out of the EU doesn't mean you instantly become a third world country. - If you are satisfied with the answer you should "accept" the answer by clicking on the tick under the number of votes it has accumulated. Once you gain more privileges on this site you will be able to up and downvote answers depending on their usefulness.
@SleepingGod: +1. Note that as part of an EU member state, Catalonia is *already* in compliance with many EU requirements: For example on legal compatibility, technical standards, and human rights. This would likely help smooth the path to membership.
This all sounds nice on paper, but how did e.g. Bulgaria and Romania score on those criteria at the time of admission? And surely Catalonia is closer to meeting those criteria than Ukraine.