Catalonia wants independence and Europe


The decision on a date for the referendum on Catalan independence, 9 November 2014, hijacked the headlines since last Thursday — the Catalan papers highlighting a "massive support of citizens", the national Spanish papers quoting statements by the government in Madrid about the unfeasibility of the vote from a constitutional point of view.

The decision on a date for the referendum on Catalan independence, 9 November 2014, hijacked the headlines since last Thursday — the Catalan papers highlighting a “massive support of citizens”, the national Spanish papers quoting statements by the government in Madrid about the unfeasibility of the vote from a constitutional point of view.

 

Come what may, it has a long way to go, even if the first step was taken — partly, thanks to the momentum gained in September after a million people locked hands to form a 400 km human chain that snaked along the “border” between the richest region of Spain and the rest of the country, partly to deliver to Catalans, who very well know what they want.

“We would be the 4th country in Europe by GDP per capita,” said Jordi Prat, an electrical contractor. “Catalonia has no funds anymore for services or schools, and Madrid refused a fiscal pact like the one it signed with the Basque Countries. The parties of the Catalan government had not agreed on a vote yet, because it’s a break it or make it decision: if it fails, their leadership will be out, and they feared this,” explained Jordi.

The President of the Generalitat (the government of Catalonia), Artur Mas of Convergence and Union (CIU), a center-right “Catalanist” party, bought himself a year now to negotiate with Madrid. He also managed to hold together a “grand” coalition government ranging from the Republican Left (ERC), the Greens (ICV) and participatory democracy group (CUP), and to ensure the support of the ERC to pass the 2014 budget. He managed to square the circle, say observers in Barcelona.

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