The EU is changing its attitude to regional and provincial government. It used to see it as an ally in attacking the powers of the member states. The EU offered more powers to the regions as it took more powers to itself, acting as a pincer movement on the authority of national g0vernment. They sought a Europe of the regions.
Now the EU is becoming concerned that fostering regional power centres is getting out of control. They do not welcome the independence movements in Catalonia, Scotland or Lombardia. They are happy for regions to have some devolved powers, but they do not wish them to press their claims to the point where they rupture the constitution of a member state. The EU would not wish to renegotiate membership with a smaller Spain and an independent Catalonia. It does not want to see the richer parts of Spain spin off from the Spanish state at a time of heavy indebtedness and substantial cross border liabilities extended through the Spanish state and Spanish banking system.
Scottish nationalists assume that Scotland could automatically become a member of the EU on the same terms as the UK currently enjoys. Even if the rest of the EU agreed, there would have to be Treaty amendments, as the MEP seats, the voting weights and other constitutional matters would need sorting out between Scotland and the rest of the EU. There would have to be a deal on both the rest of the UK and Scotland’s financial contribution. Would Scotland still enjoy the exemption from joining the Euro? Would it negotiate any part of the UK rebate? The rest of the EU might see Scottish secession as an opportunity to make Scotland join on more conventional terms.
What sort of a deal could either Catalonia or Lombardia do, should they fulfill their wish to gain independence following a referendum? How could the EU be sure residual Spain and Italy could honour their debts and liabilities?
It is facsinating to see the EU now becoming an advocate of the status quo on exisiting member states configurations. The early enthusiasm for stronger regional government, which may have stoked some of the mood for independence, is now coming back to worry them.
Meanwhile the EU’s refusal to recognise England along with its continuing wish to splinter England into unwanted regions, fuels anti EU sentiment in England.