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Crowds gather in protest during the Catalan Referendum

Dr Guillem Colom-Montero, new Lecturer in Hispanic Studies, interviewed about Catalonia on different BBC outlets.

Catalonia expert, Dr Guillem Colom-Montero, who witnessed the violence in Barcelona during the Catalan Referendum, has been interviewed about the recent political developments in the region on television (BBC News) and radio (BBC World Service, BBC5, BBC West Midlands and BBC Cumbria).

Early in the morning on Tuesday 3 October, Dr Colom-Montero spoke in ‘Up All Night’ on BBC5. Interviewed by Rhod Sharp, Dr Colom-Montero remarked that ‘the situation is changing quickly and unfolding in completely unexpected ways’. Asked about potential solutions, Dr Colom-Montero mentioned that international mediation could be effective but the Spanish government is reluctant ‘to negotiate with this Catalan government or with any Catalan government with a pro-independence agenda’. He also commented on the impact of the general strike that was taking place on Tuesday and remarked on ‘the difficulties for the Catalan government to move the situation forward’.

Listen to Dr Colom-Montero’s appearance (from 03:44:40) here.

On Wednesday 4 October, at 2pm, Dr. Colom-Montero spoke live on BBC World Service’s programme BBC Newshour. Interviewed by Owen Smith, Dr Colom-Montero commented on King Felipe II’s televised address to the nation on Tuesday 3 October and on the likelihood that the Catalan government declares independence in the next few days. According to Dr Colom-Montero, at the moment ‘we are seeing a clash of legitimacies’ between the Catalan and Spanish governments.

Listen to Dr Colom-Montero’s appearance here, or listen to the full programme here.

On Thursday 5 October, at 8:15am, Dr Colom-Montero was interviewed live by Alex Wester on BBC West Midlands. Dr Colom-Montero talked about the episodes of violence he witnessed in Barcelona on Sunday 1 October and briefly elaborated on the recent history of Catalonia, highlighting the historical sense of difference felt by many Catalans and also the shared history between Catalonia and Spain. According to him, at the moment, ‘significant sections of the Catalan population feel disenfranchised by the Spanish state and feel that the referendum is now a matter of democratic rights’.

Hear Dr Colom-Montero’s appearance (from 2:17:40) here.

On Friday 6 October, Dr Colom-Montero was interviewed live on BBC News at 7:15pm. He was asked about the next moves by the Catalan government and about the effect that big business moving their bases out of the region could have on the pro-independence camp. Dr Colom-Montero noted that the ball is now on the Catalan government’s court, which must make a move sooner or later. He added that, while a declaration of independence might seem unlikely, the possibility should not be discarded because doing so would give the Catalan government leverage for future negotiations and perhaps trigger international mediation, which is one of their objectives. Dr Colom-Montero remarked that recent decisions by large companies to shift their headquarters to other parts of Spain certainly put pressure on the Catalan government. However, he also observed that such plans might signal that corporates foresee a declaration of independence in the next few days as a possibility.

On Tuesday 10 October, Dr Colom-Montero was interviewed live on BBC Cumbria at 9:10am. Dr Colom-Montero spoke about the ways in which the political crisis in Catalonia is affecting Spain and how this can also have an impact on the European Union. He also commented on the possibilities that Catalan President Carles Puigdemont declared independence on the meeting of the Catalan Parliament on Tuesday and the consequences of such a move.

Listen to Dr Colom-Montero’s appearance here (from 10:05).

On Wednesday 11 October, at 8:20am, Dr Colom-Montero was interviewed live on BBC West Midlands. Interviewed by Alex Lester, Dr Colom-Montero spoke about Catalonia’s suspended declaration of independence and the potential reactions by the Spanish government. Dr Colom-Montero remarked that Carles Puigdemont’s suspension of the declaration of independence was met with frustration by significant sections of the pro-independence movement and by the pro-independence left party CUP, which has backed the Catalan government so far. Finally, Dr Colom-Montero observed that, while Donald Tusk’s speech a few hours before the meeting of the Catalan Parliament may have played a key role in the suspension of the declaration, it seems unlikely that the Spanish government accepts international mediation.

Listen to Dr Colom-Montero’s appearance here (from 2:21:20).

For further updates and insights into the referendum, follow Dr Guillem Colom-Montero on Twitter: @GuillemCM.

Dr Colom-Montero expects that the relationship between Catalonia and Spain will be a relevant and complex topic in the next few months not only for Spain but also for the European Union.

Date: 10 October 2017

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