Not all Catalans want to separate from asset that is Spain
NEW and worrying developments have taken place in Catalonia (Spain) since your article “Catalonia bid to selfrule”. Just the other day, its president, Carles Puigdemont, made a unilateral declaration of independence subject to the approval or intervention of the Spanish government and EU negotiators.
That was a most unclear, if not ridiculous, declaration which did not meet with the approval of the extremist separatists.
On October 1, the separatist Catalan government carried out an illegal referendum, which the president of Spain saw fit to try to stop by sending forces of law and order to create disorder. Police brutality took place in many instances. It seems that the result of the referendum was favourable to the separatist forces.
Unfortunately, the referendum was called for and directed by the interested party, which also counted the results.
The reasons for separation are clear to the extremists, but not so clear to the large number of Catalans, like me, who do not want separation, or to those who are indifferent to it.
Catalonia was first a political unit in 1283 and forced to abolish it in 1714, restored in 1931, abolished by Franco in 1939 and restored again in 1977 after Franco’s death.
It’s now an autonomous province, something that it had been fighting for during the 45 years of Franco’s rule.
It has its own parliament with President Charles Puigdemont controlling a population of 7.523 million in a country of 46.5 million.
Catalonia’s economy is larger than Portugal’s, and it has a gross domestic product of 22.5 million.
Catalonia, with an economy larger than Portugal’s, says it receives an unfair redistribution of tax revenues from Madrid. That is the main bone of contention.
Each year, it pays about 10 billion more in taxes to Madrid than it gets back, or 5% of regional economic output, according to data from the Spanish Treasury.
The government of Catalonia, or the Generalitat de Catalunya, is the institution under which the autonomous community of Catalonia in Spain is politically organised.
It consists of the parliament of Catalonia, the president of the Generalitat of Catalunya and the government of Catalonia. They employ 165 000 people, with an annual budget of 29.7 billion.
They are a country within another country, with their own language, Catalan, with their own grammar (older than Spanish, or “Castellano”). They are an enormous asset to Spain and I wish they would realise that the rest of Spain is also an enormous asset to them.
We have to wait and see what the future brings to that troubled region.
Police brutality took place in many instances