Sunday, January 26, 2014

American Analysts Think Spain, Rather Than Catalonia, Might Have to Leave The EU


On the website of the prestigious Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, USA, an article questions whether Spain, without Catalonia, could stay in the European Union. Wharton School's Economics professor Franklin Allen thinks that “(Spain without Catalonia) would not be the same country”, so deciding whether it should keep its present status in the European Union might become a tricky legal problem.

The opinion is included in a long article that has been published in the website’s “Public Policy” section with the title “Is Secession the Answer? The Case of Catalonia,Flanders and Scotland”.

The article explains that Catalonia, Flanders and Scotland share the facts that they have their own language, a greater level of industrialization than their respective current states and a considerable degree of autonomy to run their own affairs. That is why, according to Administration professor Mauro Guillén, also of the Wharton School, it is easy for many to imagine a transition toward total independence for those territories.

Referring more specifically to Catalonia, the article goes on to say that the financial crisis has fuelled resentfulness at the fact that 8% to 9% of Catalan GDP is transferred to other autonomous communities in Spain, while Catalonia is clearly a world leader in competitiveness. In 2012, Catalan exports reached a record €58.2bn, 15.38% more than they totalled before the crisis started in 2008-2009. In 2012 alone, they grew by 5%; according to the Generalitat de Catalunya –the Catalan Government– Statistics Institute, above those of more important Eurozone members like Germany, France, the Netherlands and Finland.

But Jakok Funk Kierkegaard, a Danish specialist in European economy, reminds us that Catalonia is now broke and still has a very high unemployment rate, though it has recently gone down slightly, from 24.53% in March 2013 to 23.85% at the end of June 2013. So, if it becomes independent, Catalonia will have to work hard and overcome a possible veto to enter the Eurozone anyway.

On the other hand, the article also states that from Madrid comes a growing wave of threats and pure anti-Catalan feeling instead of a campaign offering a more suitable accommodation for Catalonia, and that Rajoy is “anything but an inspiring leader”, just a politician who doesn’t value the genuine diversity of multilingual Spain.

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