Will Catalan independence happen?

By Euro Weekly News Wednesday, 21 February 2018 20:02 0
UP IN THE AIR?: Will Catalan independence happen? UP IN THE AIR?: Will Catalan independence happen? Jordi Paya via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

LIKE with any story, whether it is newsworthy or not, there are many different views, and whether Catalan should gain independence from Spain or not is no different.

For the Catalonians that want to be free of Spain, they think they are overtaxed, that their own culture is disappearing, and they are not free enough to run the area as they would wish, even though they have their own government.

From a Spanish perspective, if they grant Catalonia independence, what happens when Valencia or the Balearic Isles want to break away? Soon Spain would be a very small country and would lose some of its richest locations.

There are so many problems attached to the idea of an independent Catalonia, it could be that the disadvantages of leaving Spain far outweigh the benefits.

Madrid getting ready for long-term control

Spain hoped that the elections held in Catalonia last December would solve the issue once and for all. They wanted a new government to rule, hoping of course that it would be pro-Spain.

No new parliament emerged from the election as no party had a big enough majority, and that leaves Catalonia without any leaders of its own. Madrid has no choice but to continue to rule and is currently putting plans in place to deal with pressing matters such as social services, welfare, and emergency planning.

The Catalan Independence Effect

Although it has its own government, flag, police force, and it provides some of its own services such as healthcare and education, there are many things that the region still relies on Spain for at the moment. It would have to establish its own central bank, its own tax service, defence force and air traffic control.

It would also need to come to deals with Spain over, electricity, gas, railway tracks and rolling stock, which are all currently owned and operated by the Spanish government. Even communications are in the hands of large telephone companies in other parts of the world.

What people are referring to as the "Catalan Independence Effect" is not good either. Several large companies have already moved their headquarters from Barcelona for instance, including several of the major banks.

Tourism has dropped in the region, and so have retail sales. It is the uncertainty of not knowing the outcome that causes this reaction, and as more companies leave Catalonia the worse the economy will become.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that they would no longer be a member of the EU. All their nationals would lose their EU and Spanish citizenship, and the borders with France and Spain would no longer be open, restricting free movement between the countries.

When you also take into account the huge amount of money that Catalan owes to the Spanish government, the new government departments and infrastructures that would have to be developed, and the loss of jobs caused by businesses moving away, it seems very hard to understand how Catatonia could be financially independent.

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