It’s Neither Language Nor Money

RespectA few days ago I spoke with an American reporter who had lately taken an interest in the news from Catalonia. He sincerely explained to me he didn’t know much about our country, but that he got documented before coming over. His aim, he said, was to understand why “some Spaniards want to stop being Spanish”, that’s the exact way he stated it. I emphasized it wasn’t about rejecting or scorning any identity, but rather the elemental fact that a people should be able to exercise democracy.

The American spoke of what the pro-indepencence movement refers to as “fiscal plunder” and I realised he had already researched the basic figures. With data in hand, he recited what many of us already know perfectly well: the Catalan structural deficit is 8,5% of the Catalan GDP and represents nearly €16.5bn per year over the last three years. He had also found the inter-territorial ranking ends up affecting Catalonia, going seven places lower after the levelling between autonomous regions is performed, which is a breaching of the principle of ordinality. The paradox —I added— is that the communities which generate least wealth end up having more resources per inhabitant than those contributing the most to the common fund.

He thoughtfully asked me about the failed attempt of the new fiscal pact and concluded with satisfaction: “Sure: Catalan separatism is a subject of interests, like the Northern League in Italy”. I immediately replied that, although fiscal and economic arguments were very present in the sovereignty movement and had convinced many people, it would be a mistake to attribute its growth only to this factor. It was necessary to go further, I suggested.

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