Most Europeans surveyed in ten countries believe Spain has been “too authoritarian” and not “open to dialogue” when dealing with the independence issue in Catalonia. This, according to a poll in ten EU member states put forth by the Spanish think tank Real Instituto Elcano.
The research found that almost half of those surveyed (49%) think that Spain has been too authoritarian, with only 21% disagreeing with this statement. Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom were the most critical of Madrid. These are the three EU member states within which Catalan leaders have faced extradition petitions by Spain in the past year.
Just over a half of the surveyed (53%) think that the Spanish government has not been “open enough to dialogue” – Germany leads this ranking, at 63%. Most Europeans who took part in the poll answered the question “has Spain been too soft on secessionism?” with a no.
According to the document, more people now see Spain as a “troublesome” and “authoritarian” country than they did last year and, according to the think tank, this might be due to its role in the latest independence push.
Real Instituto Elcano’s report also shows that most of the people who took part believe that independence would be good for Catalonia, and bad for Spain – whereas opinion is split on whether it would be good for the EU as a whole (35% negative, 13% positive, 15% neither positive or negative.)
The document also shows that over 8 out of 10 Europeans know about the independence movement in Catalonia (83%), which means awareness on the issue has increased in recent years.