Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont will testify in a German court today after his arrest last week. Puigdemont has been on the run from Spanish authorities since October, when Spain imposed direct rule in Catalonia and issued a warrant for his arrest for sedition and embezzlement.
A European arrest warrant issued last week means that, depending on the decision of a handful of German judges, Mr. Puigdemont now faces extradition. The EU remains in support of Spanish authority, afraid of infringing on sovereignty or setting a precedent for future secessionist movements. This stance will be tested as an EU behemoth, Germany, becomes embroiled in the proceedings.
These events come amid a period of relative calm in Catalonia, where most politicians have abandoned unilateral calls for independence in favour of negotiation. However, should Mr. Puigdemont be extradited, the risks of protests and unrest in the region will rise.
With a final ruling coming in the next two weeks, expect Puigdemont’s trial to reignite some nationalist fervour in the coastal Spanish region. If Spain reacts with too heavy a hand, more unrest could harm the economy of its wealthiest region, and EU members may be forced to turn against Spain.
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Josh analyses the economic impacts of geopolitical developments in emerging economies. He contributes regularly to The Daily Brief.