Catalonia edges closer to independence

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  • By Stefano Guttusu

 

Pro-independence parties in Spain’s Catalonia region have won an absolute majority in regional elections.
The main separatist alliance and a smaller nationalist party won 72 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament.
However, the pro-independence parties fell just short of getting 50% of the vote, winning 1.9 million out of 4 million ballots cast.
The separatists say the victory gives them a clear mandate to form an independent Catalan state.
Spain’s central government in Madrid has pledged to challenge any unilateral moves towards independence in court.

The “Junts pel Si” (“Together for Yes”) alliance won 62 seats. If it combined with the far-left separatist CUP party, which won 10 seats, it will be able to form a parliamentary majority.

We have won,” Catalan regional President Artus Mas told his cheering supporters late on Sunday.

After a celebration rally, the pro-independence camp’s leaders said they would now proceed towards the creation of an independent Catalan state.

We have a clear, absolute majority in the Catalan parliament to go ahead,” Mr Mas said.

The Spanish central government has used every threat and bully-boy tactic to stop the inevitable progression even vowing to ban the internationally loved Barcelona football team.

So what is it that makes Catalan people want to be part of Catalonia but not part of Spain?

LocationCataloniaInEurope

 

With a population: 16% of the Spanish total, Area: 6.3% of Spain.

An unemployment: 2% lower than the Spanish national average. (which is still high)

Catalonia fell to Spain: 1714

As Spain’s wealthiest region creating 18.6% of Spain’s total GDP, Catalonia looses approximately 8% of it’s total GDP in additional funding to central Spain which it never gets back.

Catalonia does have a different language, much as Wales does in the UK or Sardinia and Sicily do in Italy and Corsica, Brittany and Basque do in France. Regional languages in Europe are not an unusual thing.

Whether you are pro or anti independence on cultural, historical or economic grounds, there is a clear hypocrisy among European leaders over Catalonia. European leaders fiercely oppose Catalan independence over fears it may spark a ‘Balkanisation’ of Europe.

Balkanisation relates to the tearing apart of the Balkan subcontinent that has seen an endless production line of new countries ever since the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s. EU leaders are already drawing comparisons to the terminology and arguments used by nationalist states in the Balkans who did not want the more wealthy regions supporting the poorer areas of the country. The only notable difference between the rhetoric is Spain’s lack of religious divide and tension. There is a left/right wing divide, linguistic, cultural and historical divide between many regions in Europe currently seeking secession.

The hypocrisy is that in the Balkans many EU leaders not only supported independence for all of the new small and micro states but invaded and used military force in the form of a series of illegal wars to enforce independence along political, religious and ethnic lines. The very thing they are now fearful of happening to the continent of Europe.

German chancellor Angela Merkel (Europe’s de facto dictator)  and the Spanish central government have already pressurised Caltalonia with threats that an independent Catalonia would not be part of the EU nor allowed to use the Euro, a similar tactic used by the UK over Scotland to halt their near break away last year. Spain is hitting Catalan where it hurts the most, economics, food and football, stating that non-EU to EU import regulations would be applied to food imports and the world famous and loved football team Barcelona would not be allowed to partake in the Spanish La Liga and possibly even banned from European competitions.

Many political historians and social researchers are arguing that Europe is merely entering a natural progression towards a new era of rule. An era of self determination and micro state rule in a total counteraction to the imperialism we have seen over the last few centuries. Europe not only prides itself on democracy but also invades and destroys sovereign nations under the guise of enforcing democracy, yet the European leaders refuse to let a democratic process on self determination take place on their own territories. Europe appears to have come to a crossroads, the leaders need to decide are they a democratic union of independent peoples and sovereign nations, or an imperial empire?

It would seem the best of both worlds would be for an independent Catalonia as an active and thriving member of the European Union, something the EU leaders have not favoured as part of initial treaties on the formation of the EU was to preserve the entirety and sovereignty of all of the EU members. 

What ever the people and the leaders decide only one thing is certain, the decision will not be an easy one and will require a great deal of thought given to secondary and consequential effects. Is the EU better off as a conglomerate of loosely unified nations, as one imperial power or as a mass of small self governed states strengthened by a political and economical union?

S.Guttusu@theinternational.org.uk