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
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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid