The Serbian Regional Party has become the latest party to add its voice to the Catalonia independence vote. The party backs the Catalonians resolve to become an independent state. This is due to the fact that they are seeking more autonomy for the northern province of Vojvodina. They therefore believe that a successful secession by the Catalonians can also help them in any of their future resolves of seceding from Serbia.
This trail of thought was echoed by a statement made by Bojan Kostres, vice president of the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina, in which he mentioned that citizens in both places should have a right to decide on their own fate.
Solidarity With The Catalonians
The Catalan vote was initiated after years of the Catalonians feeling oppressed by mainland Spain. As a result the Catalan government decided to hold a referendum on its independence, a move that did not go well with the Spanish government. The referendum was also banned by the constitutional Court but the Catalonian government decided to follow through with the referendum vote.
This move also prompted many people and organisations around the world to stay in solidarity with the Catalonians’ resolve, the Serbian regional party being one of them. Bojan Kostres urged the Spanish government to respect the will of the Catalonians and accept it, whichever way it might go.
A Case Of Serbian Separatists
While Catalonia’s independence vote might seem to affect Spain alone, many other countries in the EU are closely following the situation. Serbia is among those countries. A large percentage of the people in Vojvodina believe that a successful Catalan secession will help them advance their secession requests as well. Other places also feared to start a secession process include the Albanian populated southern Presevo Valley and the Muslim populated Sandzak area. As a result, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, is backing Madrid in the Catalonia’s secession requests.
However, even with their support of the Spanish government in Madrid, the Serbians are infuriated by the fact that Brussels agreed that the Catalonian’s referendum was illegal. They were quick to ask why the EU accepted Kosovo’s secession even though there was no referendum or legal precedence that was followed according to the union’s laws.
Similarities And Differences Between Catalonia And Vojvodina
Even with the Serbian regional party playing around with the idea of secession, differences between the two places makes it hard for one to follow a secession based on the other’s case. If Catalonia was to become independent, the legal argument for them would be different to that of Vojvodina. The differences between the two include;
- Catalans have their own language while Vojvodina doesn’t have its own language. It actually has six official languages in use and is home to a large number of national communities.
- Catalonia was once a kingdom whereas Vojvodina has always been a part of Serbia from inception.
However, the two also have some similarities. They are both the richest and most progressive areas in both of their countries.
The LSV And The European Free Alliance
The League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina is a member of the European Free Alliance, an alliance that brings together regionalist parties in Europe. It is no coincidence then that the Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya is a member of EFA as well. This fact has made the LSV to be termed as a separatist group rather than a political party. This is due to the LSV’s constant demands for greater autonomy and more money for Vojvodina.
These associations and constant demands have made the LSV to be labelled as a threat to Serbia’s unity.
Many people and countries in EU are slowly following the events unfolding in Catalonia. Its success or failure is a cause for worry for all the countries that are in the EU as it could be used as a precedent for other secession requests.
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