Assuming that the Catalan independence somehow goes through and Madrid sanctions an official exit referendum, has anyone addressed the self-determination rights of individual Catalan districts? I presume more Spanish people live closer to the Catalan borders, so it's likely that some of the districts would prefer to stay in Spain instead of becoming part of independent Catalonia.

Or would all districts be forced to follow the leave vote no matter what the local people think?

  • Claiming local, smaller self-determination rights vs larger entity control rights does open that can of worms, just another level down. Sep 25, 2017 at 16:40
  • NO, but there are people that doesn't support independence that come with an hypotetical secession of a place called Tabarnia (part of Barcelona and Tarragona provinces). And no, catalonia secesionists wouldn't allow other territories inside catalonia (Val d'Aran for example) the saqme "rights" they attribute to themselves.
    – roetnig
    Sep 25, 2017 at 20:23

2 Answers 2


YES, partially

The only district allowed to secede from Catalonia is Vall d'Aran, the only "subject" nation inside Catalonia's borders. They speak their own Language ( Aranese, a modern version of Occitan), they have their own culture and traditions,their people doesn't hold a free nation or state for itself, and they aknowledge themselves as a distinct people, all four requirements to be a stateless nation and to possess the right to Self-determination.

Ofcourse, most catalans would prefer Aran to stay as part of Catalonia, and have made efforts with the different Laws of Aran to make sure the region feels comfortable and accepted, but is willing to let them be free if they wish so.

Where does the Catalan parliament / Government allow this secession?

  • In the Law of Aran, a document redacted in 2014 and voted in 2015 that gave even more autonomy to the "inner region", given the non acceptance of a distinct people from Spain.
  • In the different public speeches of the government, parties, elected officials and presidency members recognising Aran as a nation with the right to decide.


This law, a improvement over the Law of Aran's Statutes, completes a 20 year-long determination process, and gives the next powers to Aran, almost giving it the status of an autonomous region, inside the statuary rights of Catalonia, hereby, inside the constitution.


Aran constitutes in Catalonia a national reality with its own personality and differentiated, based in the fact that the Aranese community has a common, shared and common language and culture with the rest of Occitania, and, at the same time, an ancient tradition of self-government firmly defended by the Aranese over time. Occitan, in its aranese variety, is Aran's own language and becomes one of the pillars and one of the features fundamentals that make up the Aranese identity, all framing it in the Occitan national event. The tie emotional of the Aranes with their language and, at the same time, the tenacity to use it, they have allowed, generation after generation, transmission to the present, and have made it one of the most precious and valuable elements Exceptional of the cultural heritage of Aran, which the people and institutions of Catalonia also recognize and they value as their own.

Powers given to Aran inside the statutary pact of Catalonia by the laws of Aran

Additional disposition number one

Disposició Addicional Primera

Reconeixement del dret de decidir del poble aranès

El Parlament de Catalunya reconeix el dret del poble aranès a decidir el seu futur.

Recognition of the right to decide on the people of Aran

The Parliament of Catalonia recognizes the right of the people of Aran to decide their future.

Laws approved against the will of the right-wing centralist parties PP & Citiziens (1)

Full control of the next elements:

  • Education
  • Culture
  • Health
  • Social services
  • Planning of the territory and urbanism.
  • Tourism
  • Protection, conservation and administration of its historical and artistic heritage
  • Protection of nature, mountains and forest roads.
  • Agriculture, livestock, fishing & hunting and forestry exploitation.
  • Rescuing and extinguishing fires.
  • Youth
  • Leisure and free time.
  • Sports.
  • Natural environment.
  • Collection and treatment of solid waste.
  • Public health
  • Local roads
  • Inland passenger transport
  • Crafts

Powers given to aran by the Catalan parliament directly

  • Linguistic space in the Public Catalan Radio & Television.

  • Grants and help to promote Aranese to new generations.

  • The General Council (Parliament) of Aran and the Sindic (Presidency) of Aran, on 1992.

This law is currently running and has not been declared illegal by the Constitutional Court.


(1) : On self determination and right to decide:

The opposition of PPC and C's has been based mainly on the recognition that the law makes of the right to decide of the Valley of Aran. Precisely this has been one of the points that has been voted separately and whose approval has resulted in numerous applause both between Members and among the guests in the gallery of Parliament. ARA.cat / El País


EL país




To my knowledge, internal pro/contra independence division does not run along the geographical borders, although independence enthusiasm does weaken slightly in the regions which border rest of Spain. The real division however is between industrial towns and cities on the coast on one hand, and smaller communities of the interior on the other.

An exception to this is Val d'Aran area with the population of about 10k. This is the only part of Spain on the northern, "French" side of the Pyrenees (also the only part which remained free of Franco for some time after the republic has been defeated elsewhere in 1939). I was there in 2009 and I could see there is a special, regional, rather than Catalan, identity. I could see Aranese, Catalan and Spanish flags at the same building, which even at that time was a very rare sight in towns such as Olot or Ripoll. They speak their own old language, which is neither Catalan nor Castillan nor French. While the valley is part of Catalonia, its people, feeling Aranese more than anything else, regard the independence movement with some scepticsm. The Junts only got there about 25 % or so, so if Catalonia ever gets green light to leave, this may be the only part of it which may at the end stay with Madrid.

  • Well... given that polls show the result of a sanctioned referendum is uncertain it is quite possible for a few districts to vote under 50%. Seems strange that they would then be forced to leave Spain. Sep 25, 2017 at 11:58
  • @JonathanReez If the town is just in the border with Spain it's easily doable, but a town in Barcelona surrounded by catalan independent territories would have a hard time to survive in case of a hard exit (Catalonia out of the EU with Spain closing frontiers).
    – Rekesoft
    Sep 26, 2017 at 7:31

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