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Predictable divisions in Balkan Countries on Catalan referendum

Catalonia poses a real crisis for both Spain and Europe | wikimedia

The stances of Balkan countries on the Spanish police attempts to stop the Catalan referendum on independence showed predictable divisions among them.

At the time some politicians who support regional autonomy and self-rule in the Balkans have sounded support of the Catalan referendum; other governments saw it as an alarming step that can become viral.

According to sources, supporters and opponents of Catalonia's right to hold an independence referendum from Spain have emerged on predictable lines in the Balkans.

The Balkans Insight gathered and recapitulated the stances of the different officials across the Balkans. Nenad Canak, head of the League Social Democrats of Vojvodina, LSV, a party that advocates more autonomy for the northern province of Serbia, said his party supported the Catalans' right to stage a vote on independence.

“Catalan citizens must have the right to vote in the referendum according to the constitution of Spain," a written statement on Sunday said.

Quoting his twitter account, he said that if the referendum showed that a majority sought the independence of Catalonia "it is necessary to start a public debate within Spain on amending the [Spanish] constitution".

While the LSV demands more autonomy for Vojvodina, Serbian nationalists see this as a threat to the country’s unity and often call it a "separatist" party.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, and the head of the Serbian Office for Kosovo, Marko Djuric, on Sunday said Serbia supported the sovereignty and integrity of Spain.

Dacic recalled also that Spain was “great friend of Serbia” and that it had not recognized the independence of Serbia's former province of Kosovo.

On Sunday, Kosovo leaders remained very quiet. “The Kosovo Government does not comment on the internal developments of other countries,” Halil Matoshi, head of Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj's Information Office stated.

Igor Crnadak, the Foreign Minister of Bosnia, which has its own problems with independence movements among the Bosnian Serbs [and Croats], in a telephone call with the ambassador of Spain on Sunday reiterated Bosnia's support for the territorial integrity of Spain.

In Montenegro, on the other hand, which declared independence from Serbia after a referendum in 2006, some people hung the flag of Catalonia on their balconies.

Romania, which also has separatist issues regarding its Hungarian minority, and, like Spain, refuses to recognize Kosovo, did not issue any official position after Sunday’s events.

However, President Klaus Iohannis told a Spanish journalist in Estonia on Friday, while attending an EU summit, that he feared the independence referendum would not help Europe.