Catalonia: a referendum-like elections on independence

Catalonia will take the path of independence? Sunday, residents of the Barcelona area, in the northeast of Spain, to the polls for early regional elections. The Parliament of the Autonomous Community of the richest countries, the issue is much more important: the lines, the outgoing president of Catalonia, Artur Mas, wants to make this vote a genuine referendum in favor of independence.

A separatist thrust reinforced by the crisis

For several years, Catalonia knows indeed a fever independence. In 2006, local officials had negotiated with the government of José Luis Zapatero empowering status of their region, whose preamble defined “Catalonia as a nation.” This status has since been retoqué by the Constitutional Court, but the separatist tendencies, they are still there, further strengthened since the beginning of the crisis by the feeling that the Autonomous Community finance the errors of Madrid. Enough to give wings to the proponents of secession in early August, the president of the region, Artur Mas, advocate independence, decided to advance the date by several months local elections, presenting them as “a plebiscite to freedom and sovereignty. ” In case of victory, he promises to make Catalonia a state full before the end of 2017.

The polls give the advantage to the separatists

This victory precisely seems at hand. Despite numerous meetings of supporters of a united Spain -the Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy visited the area five times in the last two-weeks, the camp of separatists still holding the rope in the surveys. Polls and give “Junts pel si” (together for yes), the coalition led by Artur Mas, some 75 seats in the Catalan parliament, a total of 135. “I will vote for independence, I think it ‘ is those who bear the greatest attention to Catalonia, “explains Vanesa Asensio, Barcelona shoe saleswoman.

remains one possible secession of Catalonia would raise many more questions than it does would respond. Camp Artur Mas ensures that the new state could play a leading role in Europe. But not everyone agrees: banks, markets and industry groups do not hide their concern at the idea of ​​Spain split in two. In Madrid, the independent Catalonia would become downright a “pariah state”, with unemployment rates exceeding 35% and where pensions plunge 44%. Of course, it is possible that the line has been enlarged to scare the voters. But we must recognize that much of the activity of the Autonomous Community (40%) comes from its links with the rest of the country, links that necessarily reduce in case of voting in favor of independence.

What relations with the European Union?

Another outstanding issue, the participation of the new State to the European Union. Until now, Brussels has never faced such a problem. Artur Mas, does not worry. As the Scots before him, he assures anyone who will listen that Catalonia would separate its place alongside the 27. “No,” answered the European Commission’s view on the contrary it would be automatically excluded. A question all the more important that the output of the Union would mean the end of the single currency, customs agreements and especially European funding.

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