Social Action Now!

An objective view to worldwide social issues

Catalonia’s Independence, is it worth it?

For the last few years, Catalonia’s wish of becoming an independent country has become a topic of interest for many. Having their own culture, language and traditions, a good number of catalans feel the need to express their desire of becoming a country.

In 2010, when Artur Mas was elected president of the Generalitat de Catalunya, he stated that sovereignty and Catalan independence would become the main objective of his political agenda, and he has ever since, become a leader to follow by the separatists.

During the past 4 years, Catalonia’s president has tried several times to talk with Spain’s president and try to convince him to negotiate Catalonia’s independence, something which Spain’s government has never approved of.

Now, a question that many have in mind is, would Catalonia’s independence be a possitive act or an inconvinient?

Catalonia’s separatist president Artur Mas during a speech.

These are some of the reasons why it is believed by some that Catalonia’s independence would be a good move:

‘It would improve social welfare, education and infrastructures’

An independent Catalonia would be better providing its new leaders take the opportunity to make a well overdue restructuring and modernisation of all legislative and judicial departments which at the moment depend on the central government.

The Catalan health service is recognised as the best in Spain but the cost of running it is pushed up by its being used by people from the rest of the country.

And with the extra 20 billion euros that Catalan tax payers currently pay to Madrid every year and are not returned, a lot could be done to improve social welfare, education and infrastructures.

1. Extract from the comment by Michelle Przemyk, published 20 November 2012 (11:00): “Would Catalonia be better as an independent nation?” at this site.

‘Only way to create 200.000 vacancies in 24 hours and reduce unemployment in Catalonia by a third’

Catalonia has got 3,4 million workers, of which 302 thousand are public jobs. This is 8,9%. The average level in Spain is 13,8 %. In Spain there are 19 million workers of which 2,6 million are public jobs. If the new Catalan state would have the same percentage of public jobs (which is not much for an independent state) we are paying 500.000 public jobs but only 300.000 of these jobs are in Catalonia. This means that with the Catalan state we can have this million jobs within the borders of our state, that is 200.000 extra people, working to develop Catalonia, instead of working against us.

2. Extract from the post by Miquel Marzabal. published 2 July 2012 (00:17) “Reason 34: Only way to create 200.000 vacancies in 24 hours and reduce unemployment in Catalonia by a third” at this webpage.

On the other hand, these are some of the negative points stated by a few netizens.

‘Catalonia’s independence would be a likely disaster for all’

  • Access to capital markets in Catalonia and the rest of Spain would be reduced dramatically. In the debt market, two separate countries do not have the same credit as one united. It never happened. Catalonia would exist, like Cyprus, Malta, Montenegro or Macedonia. Let’s not say it’s impossible. But annual available credit would quickly fall to the levels of those countries, at least 35-40%. Compared with Finland it would mean a drop of 15-20%. The rest of Spain would suffer a similar impact.

  • Access to private corporate debt would suffer even more. Catalonia has some of the most indebted Spanish banks and companies in the Ibex with €140bn of outstanding debt. What comes after independence? Taxes, cuts of regulated revenues, bad payments, non-performing loans soar and risk of default. Social Security and pension severed. Private companies would have trouble gaining solid access to the capital markets in the middle of giant refinancing needs (€35bn in three years) until the markets know for sure the impact on cash generation of the new political environment.

  • The gap between expenses and revenues is unsustainable. Either way, both separate countries would spend 16% and 25% more than they earn from taxes. With the expected drop in tax revenues from the challenges of a successful transition to independence, the risk premium would shoot much higher. Use any fiscal deficit you want-if you believe them- but even if you accept the separatists’ figure -€16bn- you have to deduct the costs of joining the EU and NATO and all the new state structures, plus the proportion of the bailout cost of its banks and the “pre-received” state bailout. The cost would exceed the –alleged and questionable– benefit.

3. Extract from the post by Daniel Lacalle published 5 November 2012 “Catalonia’s indepndence would be a likely disaster for all” at this site.

Another problem that Catalonia would have to face to if they gained the independence would be to be out of the European Union.

However, Brussels has warned that Catalonia would not be allowed to remain in the European Union should it decide to split from Spain and would face a long and complicated process to be readmitted.

4. Extract from the post by Fiona Govan published 5 November 2012 “Spanish intellectuals speak out against Catalan independence” at this webpage.

There are a lot of opinions; some think that Catalonia’s independence would mean achieving a freedom that would lead them to  build a better country while others think that this secession would just destroy Catalonia and be a burden to Spain.

Could this touristic autonomous community of Spain survive if a legal election on Catalonia’s freedom was accepted and the results turned out with a high number of positive votes? Would the “no” win over the “yes” if said elections were proclaimed?

1. Extract from the comment by Michelle Przemyk, published 20 November 2012 (11:00): “Would Catalonia be better as an independent nation?” at this site.

2. Extract from the post by Miquel Marzabal. published 2 July 2012 (00:17) “Reason 34: Only way to create 200.000 vacancies in 24 hours and reduce unemployment in Catalonia by a third” at this webpage.

3. Extract from the post by Daniel Lacalle published 5 November 2012 “Catalonia’s indepndence would be a likely disaster for all” at this site.

4. Extract from the post by Fiona Govan published 5 November 2012 “Spanish intellectuals speak out against Catalan independence” at this webpage.

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