Everyone’s eyes seem glued to the Paris terrorist attack and the refugee crisis, but other significant events in Europe merit a spotlight as well.

For example, Catalan Lawmakers Approve Plan for Secession from Spain.

The regional parliament of Catalonia launched a plan Monday to set up a road map for independence from Spain by 2017, defying warnings from the central government in Madrid that it is violating the nation’s constitution.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy pledged to halt the effort.

The chamber, based in the northeastern city of Barcelona, passed the secession resolution in a 72-63 vote.

The proposal was made by pro-secession lawmakers from the “Together for Yes” alliance and the extreme left-wing Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP).

Spain’s government reacted swiftly Monday. In a nationally televised address, Rajoy said his government will appeal the decision at the Constitutional Court, which has in the past blocked moves toward independence.

Catalan branches of Spain’s ruling conservative Popular Party and the Socialist and the Citizens opposition parties had filed appeals to halt the vote, but Spain’s Constitutional Court ruled last Thursday that it could proceed.

Later Monday, the parliament began what is expected to be a long, heated debate over whether Artur Mas should continue for a third term as regional president.

While his “Together for Yes” alliance backs him with 62 votes, it is short of the required majority of 68. The anti-independence parties are against him, and the CUP has said it won’t support Mas because of his conservative austerity policies and the corruption investigations involving his Convergence Party.

The parliament has until Jan. 9 to form a government or a new election must be called.

By then, Spain will have held a national election — on Dec. 20 — and the issue of how to handle the situation in Catalonia will play a crucial role in whether the Popular Party can hold onto power.

The ranks of lifelong secessionists, who feel that the Catalan language — spoken along with Spanish in the region — and local traditions can only flourish in an independent state, have been joined by those suffering through Spain’s economic problems and who believe that Catalans pay more than their fair share in taxes.

Collision Course

Prime minister Mariano Rajoy says “Catalonia is not going anywhere. Nothing is going to break.”

But what the hell is he going to do? Send in the army?

Why shouldn’t Catalonia be allowed to break away if that’s what the people want?

Rajoy says the effort is undemocratic and unconstitutional. Since when do constitutions ever allow states to break away from a country? And if anything is “undemocratic” it is suppression of the will of the people.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock