Secessions That Will Redraw Europe

RCat Int’l:

The following article states Galician is a dialect of Portuguese, which is a mistake. Galician is a language on its own right, sharing a common ancestor with Portuguese, the so-called Galego-Portugués.

As the richer center-right regions are increasingly unwilling to pay for the poorer leftist regions, the strain on multi-ethnic nations in Europe is growing. We might very well see an entirely different Europe – with a handful of new nations – five years from now. Washington would be wise to take this possibility into serious consideration.

On November 25, Catalonia, the richest region of Spain, will hold regional elections. Artur Mas, the leader of the regional government, is campaigning on a platform demanding more autonomy for Catalonia. Mr. Mas’s government in Barcelona called early elections in an effort to attain greater independence from Madrid.

Spain is divided into 17 autonomous entities, of which only 14 can be considered truly Spanish. Two states have their own language, Catalonia and the Basque Country, while in a third state, Galicia, a dialect of Portuguese is spoken. Like the Basques, many Catalans are striving for independence from Spain. The independence movement has been growing since the economic crisis hit Spain.

Catalonia encompasses less than 6.5 percent of Spain’s territory. Its 7.5 million inhabitants comprise 16% of Spain’s population. However, its GDP constitutes almost 20% of Spain’s. Over the past years Catalonia’s economy has been contracting, though at a less dramatic rate than the overall Spanish economy. The Catalans resent the fact that each year they are forced to transfer about 8% of their GDP to other Spanish regions because the central government in Madrid demands that Catalonia help support the poorer regions of Spain.

The Catalans claim that this enforced form of “solidarity” is harming their own region. Every year the Catalans pump some $20 billion more in tax revenue into the central government’s coffers than they receive in return. Like the rest of Spain, the eurocrisis has cast Catalonia into heavy debt. When Madrid recently turned down Barcelona’s request for a no-strings-attached bailout of $6.2 billion, angry Catalans began to clamor for secession from Spain.

Read @ Gatestone Institute