Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

Catalonia can’t quit Madrid

By Jonathan Gorvett

20 May 2023 · 7 min read

Editor's Note

Catalonia’s independence movement has all but collapsed, according to this FP analysis. It’s a sign of how the world has changed—and of how separatist politicians failed to deliver on their promises.

ALTAFULLA, Spain—Halfway up a lamppost on a residential street flutters a tattered gold-and-red-striped Estelada, the flag that has long been a proud statement of identity in Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia.

Now, though, for local retiree Mei Francisco, the Estelada’s faded colors serve only as a reminder of the declining fortunes of the Catalan independence movement. “It’s like this,” she said, before mimicking a deflating balloon.

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