THERE is a new mood of optimism in the pro-independence camp in the north-eastern Spanish region of Catalonia, which used a recent local election as a plebiscite for independence.

Immediately after the poll returned a majority of independence-supporting parliamentarians, it drew up an 18-month transition period mapping out its secession from Spain.

The central government in Madrid has effectively neutered the Catalan authority, rendering it virtually powerless to pass any laws or spend money on services or products unless that spending is sanctioned by Madrid. However, that could all change in December, when Spain has a country-wide election just before Christmas.

Diplomat Albert Royo-Mariné said: “If we are part of the EU, we are a modern democracy we should be able to find a way to give a proper answer to this broad demand that has been coming from the Catalan society for a long time.”

To that we say hear, hear.

Diplomat: Catalonia will be independent in the next two years

Alyn Smith: Why Catalan cause is an international issue