Confusion Reigns After Catalan Leaders Sign Declaration of Independence

Declaration Signed, But Suspended, Leaving Future Uncertain

The Republic of Catalonia has formally declared its independence from Spain today, sort of. Top Catalan leaders signed a declaration making them an independent republic, but President Carles Puigdemont, the putative head of state for Catalonia, also suspended the declaration, pending talks with Spain.

President Carles Puigdemont signs the declaration

This is leaving not just the rest of the world, but Catalans in particular, pretty confused. Puigdemont has presented independence as a done deal, at least on paper, but is holding the process up on the basis of talks that aren’t likely to ever happen.

Spanish officials have repeatedly ruled out talks under any circumstances, and threatened Catalan leaders for the declaration. The “suspension” of the declaration seems intended to temporarily avoid provoking a Spanish reaction, but doesn’t offer a clear way forward.

Puigdemont and other Catalan leaders have pushed for EU mediation, but it’s not clear the EU is open to the idea, and it’s very clear Spain isn’t open to it. This leaves the future of Catalonia as uncertain as ever, with voters who supported independence and those who opposed both as confused about what the next step will be.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of