A Way Out of Spain’s Catalan Crisis

And Why Madrid Is Unlikely to Take It

Albert Gea / Reuters

On October 14, Spain’s Supreme Court sentenced several leaders of the Catalonian separatist movement to lengthy prison terms for their role in organizing a controversial independence referendum two years ago. What followed seemed, in some ways, like a tragic replay of the failed 2017 secession bid: protests erupted in Barcelona, some descending into vandalism; riot police manhandled peaceful protesters; and Catalonia was left without a clear path to resolving its differences with the central government. Little, in other words, has changed in the two years since Madrid declared the referendum illegal and temporarily dissolved Catalonia’s regional government. Until recently, Prime Minister …