Catalonia turn to Independence

According to CBS News the plan for independence was passed with lawmakers approving secession from Spain 72 votes to 63. Lawmakers from the “Together for Yes” alliance and the extreme left-wing Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) voted for the document. Parliament has launched the process of breaking away from Spain by 2017 (within 18 months.). It pronounced a decree to prepare the text of the constitution and establish own state structures for half a year. Exactly a year ago residents voted overwhelmingly in support of the separation of Catalonia and Spain. Then Madrid referred to the results of the poll as illegitimate and unenforceable. And today Madrid also reacted negatively to Catalonia’s resolution. Its official representatives have already said they will appeal the decision of the Catalan parliament in the constitutional court. Particularly Mariano Rajoy, the Prime Minister of Spain, noted that “Catalonia is not going anywhere, nothing is going to break”.

Background. Catalonia has tried to assert its independence not for the first time. It is the region in northeastern Spain that consists of four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. The region is bordered by Andorra and France to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the east, the Spanish autonomous communities of Aragon to the west and the Valencian Community to the south. Catalonia has its own language (Catalan) and rich culture. Now it has a status of an autonomous community of Spain.

In different periods Catalonia was ruled by Greeks, Carthaginians, the Romans, the Visigoths and the Moors. In the 12th century Catalonia became a part of the Kingdom of Aragon, but it had the same rights as Aragon. When Catalonia with Aragon became a part of Spain in 1479, residents of Catalonia expected to keep autonomy and civil rights. The region unified with the Crown of Spain but maintained self rule. It was time when Catalonia began producing it’s uniquely culture. One of the most significant conflicts was during the War of the Spanish Succession, in which King Philip V forbade Catalonia enjoy the rights and included it in the Spanish monarchy. In 1871 Catalonia was trying to secede from Spain, but after negotiations remained as part of the Spanish Kingdom.

By the end of 19th century Catalonia became an industrial center and during the 20th century Catalonia gained and lost varying degrees of independence. In 1931 revolution overthrew the monarchy in Spain and gave rise to quantity radical changes in the country. For the first time Catalonia received their autonomy (1932), however the region almost was unable to use it: in 1936 the Civil war started in Spain. Francisco Franco, military leader, imposed a ban on Catalan language and culture. After World War II Spain had the second fastest economic growth in the world (the “Spanish Miracle”). It is significant to note that Catalonia was contributing to the rapid growth and also benefiting from the economic health of the country.

In 1975 after the end of Franco’s rule, democratic reforms were beginning. In 1979 Catalonia for the second time gained an autonomous status in conjunction with the official recognition of the Catalan language. Spain has understood the risk of loss a rich and industrialized region, so it gave carte blanche to carry out reforms in the area of national policy to Catalonia. Thus since that Catalonia has political, cultural and linguistic autonomy under the Spanish constitution. Nowadays teaching in schools and universities is only in Catalan that leads to an apparent backlog of children whose first language is Spanish. All state and municipal institutions have forms only in Catalan, although Spanish is also the official language. The knowledge of the Catalan language is necessary for working in a local government.

In fact, in the region Catalan nationalism has blossomed and the country makes a fierce effort to become an independent country. The majority of Catalans support this decision. The Catalans and Spaniards shared by a significant gap resulted from old grievances. The most important thing that problem is not reduces but grows, in spite of all tentatives for a reconciliation. The Catalans proclaim that “Catalonia is not Spain”.

A priori conclusion. It is no secret why Spain will block Catalan moves toward independence. Though the region has small amount of minerals, Catalonia has a developed economy and one of the highest indices of socio-economic development in Spain. Barcelona is the main economic center of the region. In 2014, the regional GDP of Catalonia was €199,797 million (the highest of Spain). The primary sector is represented about 3% of the workforce, but also includes subsectors that compete throughout the world, such as the manufacture of champagne, wine, pork, sweet fruits or meat. An important sector of the local economy is tourism. Recently investment attractiveness of the property of Catalonia makes a significant contribution to the economy.

The relationship between Madrid and Barcelona became especially tense after the Department of Economics of Catalonia found out that Catalonia experience budgetary discrimination. In 2010 the Catalans paid $118,5% of the national level in taxes, but received subsidy, which constituted 98.9% of the average level. According to analysts, the economic crisis has exacerbated the separatist disposition, as many the Catalans consider that the region gives Spain more than it receives from it.

The EU has refrained from assessments of the accepted resolution. Europe wouldn't want to see an independent Catalonia. Economy of Spain is showing the signs of recovery and an inner conflict can drive a negative effect. The EU has clearly stated that in case of severance Catalonia from Spain, the country automatically loses membership in the EU, in the eurozone and in the Schengen Area.