The Catalonian issue proceeds

by on January 24, 2013 at 9:57 am in Current Affairs, Law | Permalink

The non-binding and largely symbolic resolution – which states that the people of Catalonia have a democratic right to decide on their sovereignty – was passed with 85 votes for, 41 against and two abstentions in the 135-seat legislature. Two deputies were absent and five refused to vote.

The link is here, here is more in Spanish.  I still would bet against actual independence, but this remains an oddly under-reported story.

Elsewhere in the news, Spanish joblessness has risen from 25 to 26 percent.

8 January 24, 2013 at 10:06 am

I’m betting on independence. This is sort of like the euro in 2009 or early 2010, way too much optimism because people can’t imagine the future. The trend is clearly the friend of independence, with social mood continuing to darken.

prior_approval January 24, 2013 at 10:41 am

Personally, I can hardly wait to read about how Scotland will become independent, yet remain in the EU, while England (pulling Wales and Northern Ireland along with it) leaves the EU.

Admittedly, the fact that the current UK prime minister plans to hold a vote to leave the EU has been much bigger news in some parts of the world. In comparison, Catalonia is playing on a tiny stage in a sideshow – and without the fireworks that used to make the Basque drive to leave Spain so dramatic. One could also point out to what is going in Tirol, another one of those shockingly underreported stories – at least to some. From April 2012 -

‘Italy’s prosperous German-speaking South Tyrol autonomous province looks to buy its financial independence from crisis-torn Rome.

­In these painful times of severe cuts and austerity, the northern region with a population of half-a-million people stands as a safe haven amidst the storm.

South Tyrol was occupied by Italy at the end of the First World War and annexed in 1919. After WW2 the Allies decided that the province would remain a part of Italy, but would be granted an important level of self-governance.

The province enjoys the status of wide autonomy. Up to 90 per cent of tax revenue stays in the region, while the other 10 per cent go to Rome. But with the economic crisis taking hold over the country, every last euro seems to awaken nationalist feelings. And this is a situation the politicians are all too ready to take advantage of.

Many in the region’s capital Bolzano claim their native town has never been Italian.’

http://rt.com/news/south-tyrol-bolzano-independence-039/

Anon. January 24, 2013 at 11:09 am

It’s all good…as we move forward I definitely expect to see smaller organizational structures that are bound together by some larger union-like framework.

As we become richer, the fixed costs of a government become less relevant, so we can implement them on smaller scales. Greater diversity and more choices can only mean increased competition. We all win!

Alan Gunn January 24, 2013 at 11:36 am

Part of the drive for independence in Catalonia is the fact that it gives Spain more revenue than it gets back in spending. The situation in Scotland is just the opposite. Scotland is poor today and would get poorer if it separated from the UK. And the Scots are not known for giving up money.

Da January 24, 2013 at 11:51 am

Nationalist Italian politicians are actively trying to ‘italize’ the region, more so in the last few years.

It’s not about giving one or two Euros for Rome, it’s about keeping their minority protection.

Fiodor January 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Catalonia doesn’t pay more. Territories don’t pay for anything. The ones who pay are citizens, individuals and they all in Spain pay the same depending on their income. We can debate whether the amount of investment in a region is high or low, but not that they pay more or less

Alan Gunn January 24, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Does this sort of literalism really advance the discussion? I take it we are agreed that the people who live in Catalonia pay more in Spanish taxes than they get in return from the government, or at least they think they do (which is what really matters). For Scotland and the UK, it’s the other way around. So why the nitpicking?

Fiodor January 25, 2013 at 2:42 am

so any region, city or county that pays more than receives has the right to secede, right?. Are we building anything meaningful following this thread of thought???

Peter the Shark January 24, 2013 at 10:57 am
Yancey Ward January 24, 2013 at 11:09 am

The rate of change in UE is now down to only 4%/month. Buy Spain now, or be priced out forever.

Da January 24, 2013 at 11:48 am

Scotland and Catalonia joining the EU as independent countries? Great! Two commissioners more, with lots of staff and nothing important to do.

But then there is disfunctional Belgium, too. Oh well. Just like the climate, borders have changed ever since they existed. And always the people of they day couldn’t imagine it any different. And always it changed. And so it always will. Whatever Catalonia decides, if they do it right, they can be successful.

prior_approval January 24, 2013 at 12:17 pm

‘Scotland and Catalonia joining the EU as independent countries?’

The funny thing is, Scotland gaining independence and then joiing the EU becomes at least imaginable if England leaves the EU in the same time frame. Even Spain might agree to it in such circumstances.

On the other hand, the chance of Spain agreeing to let Catalonia join the EU as an independent country are essentially nil. For that matter, the chance of Spain agreeing to let Catalonia become an independent country are roughly the same as that of the Basques getting their own nation – it isn’t as if the Spanish aren’t familiar with the price needed to be paid to keep Spain a single nation.

Ray Lopez January 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I’d like to know what TC thinks of the Catalan Opening, and Catalonia chess (“The Catalan derives its name from Catalonia—a region of Spain—after tournament organisers at the 1929 Barcelona tournament asked Savielly Tartakower to create a new variation in homage to the area’s chess history”).

Alexei Sadeski January 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm

How many soldiers does the Catalan legislature command? Zero?

Ray Lopez January 24, 2013 at 2:10 pm

That’s what Stalin said about the Pope, and he was wrong, long term.

Alexei Sadeski January 24, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Catholicism brought down the USSR?

The Anti-Gnostic January 26, 2013 at 10:09 am

There was this guy, Karol Wojtyla …

Jessie January 24, 2013 at 2:50 pm

I strongly doubt that Catalonia will ever be independent. This issue of potential independence has been in history for centuries. There are too many emotional, financial, historical bonds to become true.
On top of that what the nationalists pretend is deeply anti democratic, here are the reasons:
1. in Spain today all citizens have the same rights (this is positive, isn’t it?), so how can you grant a right (secession) to a part of the population and not to all citizens. If Catalonians have this right so should have people of Extremadura or of tiny Val d’Aran, right?
2. After being a united country for more than 500 years, the whole infrastructure of the country has been developed with the end of mind of remaining a country. So secession would impact all Spaniards, so it is for all of them to decide.
In any case, in 20+ years we will still be discussin this as we’ve been for decades, even centuries now.

The PolyCapitalist January 24, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I believe Eurostat’s overall unemployment rate calculations are fine, but youth unemployment rates of roughly 50% as reported in Greece, Spain, etc. have methodological issues which may significantly inflate the actual figure:

http://www.polycapitalist.com/2012/09/lies-damned-lies-and-statistics-spanish.html

The PolyCapitalist January 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Like so many other media organizations, the NY Times is reporting the inflated youth unemployment figure. From the article Tyler linked to:

“Joblessness has been particularly acute for Spain’s youth, with 60 percent of people under the age of 25 unemployed in the fourth quarter.”

Norman Pfyster January 24, 2013 at 5:45 pm

I agree with the commenter at your site; there is no “actual figure,” rather you have presented another measure.

The PolyCapitalist January 25, 2013 at 2:36 am

As I responded to that commenter, the adjusted ratio is Eurostat’s, not mine.

Second, I agree that the adjusted measure is no panacea. See the comments section of the original piece I linked to on Project Syndicate for a discussion of other methodological issues/concerns with accurately measuring unemployment (e.g., how do you measure people who have left the country to look for work elsewhere?)

axa January 24, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Cataluña fights a two front war: the north front is Castilla, the south is Morocco & Algeria. Cataluña might be independent one day, but it may not be inhabitated by Catalans.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/31/world/europe/catalonias-immigrants-add-to-separatist-debate.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

TomG January 25, 2013 at 4:26 am

Slovakia, getting more in gov’t benefits than it paid (it’s people getting more than the people paid), nevertheless wanted to leave the Czech Empire called Czechoslovakia. And they (we, since I live her) are doing fine. (10 mil in CR, 5 mil in SR, almost equal in the EU).

Most “people” want to rule themselves. City-state is the right size for a state, absent serious military empires. The Swiss confederation of cantons, highly successful economically, is a good demonstration of this.

Free trade with neighbors, yes — Euro-Bureaucrat silly orders, not needed so much.

Will non-Catalonia Spain really use military guns and killing of people to stop democratically desired secession? I don’t think so. And Europe would be better off with more independent small countries/ duchies/ cantons and diversity — as long as they accept Free Trade (the failure of which was the main failure of the US Articles of Confederation).

axa January 29, 2013 at 5:47 pm

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