News / Europe

Spain’s Economic Crisis Sparks Catalonia Independence Drive

Spain’s Economic Crisis Sparks Catalonia Independence Drivei
|| 0:00:00
X
Al Pessin
October 31, 2012 2:49 PM
Spain’s worst economic crisis in a generation has sparked renewed interest in independence among people in the prosperous northeastern region of Catalonia. VOA's Al Pessin reports that local elections on November 25 are expected to solidify the position of the region’s governing pro-independence party, and could lead to a referendum on the issue.

Spain’s Economic Crisis Sparks Catalonia Independence Drive

Al Pessin
— Spain’s worst economic crisis in a generation has sparked renewed interest in independence among people in the prosperous northeastern region of Catalonia. Local elections on November 25 are expected to solidify the position of the region’s governing pro-independence party, and could lead to a referendum on the issue.
 
On the shores of the Mediterranean, Barcelona is a beautiful and prosperous city. Polls indicate its people are increasingly unhappy, however, about having their tax money go to support poorer parts of Spain, and a quick walk down a main street confirms the findings.
 
“ I am in favor of independence because I think Catalonia would have more money if I didn’t have to send so much to Spain,” said a woman named Mariana.

“Yes, I am a supporter of independence for Catalonia for many reasons. The main reason is the lack of understanding of the Catalan reality over many years," said a man named Manuel.

“Catalonia pays a lot in taxes to Spain, when really it’s money that should stay here and could be used to improve Catalonia,” said another woman name Paulina.
 
The feeling is evident on many of Barcelona’s balconies. The Catalan regional flag is red and yellow stripes, but add a blue triangle and a star, and it becomes an independence banner. More and more of them are appearing all across the city, sometimes right next to the regional flag.    

Still, there are concerns that opposition from the rest of Spain would cause a long, bitter conflict, and Spain could block an independent Catalonia’s desire to join the European Union.  

The Catalan move comes as other regions in Europe also are seeking independent status. Regional pride and culture are a big part of the independence movements.  

Economics Professor Juan Carlos Conesa at Barcelona Autonomous University said practicalities, though, should play a larger role in the debate.

“My view is that it is going to be a loss-loss situation. The process implies a huge amount of uncertainty," said Conesa. "And in the middle of a big economic crisis, introducing additional uncertainty is not necessarily a good way to get out of the crisis.”
 
But in a lounge near his office, some of his Catalan graduate students disagree.

“In the very, very short run it can be causing some problems. Maybe a break like Catalan independence will help both the Catalans and also the Spaniards," said a graduate student named Pau.

“The political elite in Madrid, they are trying to build a centralized state and basically, they use the money from the wealthy regions like Catalonia,” said another grad student named Arnau.

“In a more plural society in Spain, we could fit, Catalans could fit there perfectly okay. But not in the way that it is right now,” said grad student Joaquin.
   
Professor Conesa tells them no one really knows the impact of a serious move toward Catalan independence. He believes the only thing that is certain is the potentially damaging uncertainty such a move would cause.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid