Europe is facing its biggest crisis since the Balkan wars. But no conflict is intractable, and the broad principles for resolving it are the same as they were in Ireland
The crisis in the relationship between Catalonia and the Spanish state is deteriorating. Apart from Brexit, this is Europe’s greatest challenge since the wars in the Balkans in the 90s.
The campaign for independence by the people of Catalonia from the Spanish state goes back many generations. It has always been peaceful. It has always been non-violent. Or it was until Sunday 1 October. The images of heavily armoured, riot-clad Spanish national police – Guardia Civil – batoning voters young and old and violently seizing ballot boxes, were deeply shocking. The result is that more people took to the streets in support of Catalan independence, and a general strike was held across Catalonia.