Moraira-Info.com - Everything in Moraira!

The Moraira Area Guide (Moraira, Javea, Benissa, Benitachell & Calpe)

 

 

MORAIRA AREA BUSINESS & SERVICE DIRECTORY | MORAIRA AREA INFO | FORUM | ARTICLES
Homepage | Advertise | Contribute

Maps | Cheap Flights

 

HELP US MAKE MORAIRA-INFO BIGGER AND BETTER

Contribute -

Write a single article or
a regular feature!

Contribute to Moraira-Info

Advertise -

Local Internet Advertising
is cheap and effective

Advertise at Moraira-Info

Moraira Forum -

Exchange ideas, get help or advice, have your say!

Moraira Area Forum

Homepage -

Make Moraira-Info your homepage. Free E-mail!

The Moraira Homepage

 

 

The Catalan Issue | Independence for Catalonia

This article endeavours to decipher and unravel the huge volume of material that is currently available, particularly on the Internet, in order to provide an objective viewpoint of the tangle of conflicting issues involved.

  1. The Current Situation.
  2. A brief history of Spain and Catalonia.
  3. Controversial Viewpoints from Either Side.
  4. The EU and the Euro.  Legal and Financial Issues.
  5. Facts and Figures
  6. Freedom of Speech and Expression Issues.
  7. Current similar Examples and others from Recent History.
  8. Addendum
  9. Editors and Co-editors Profiles.
  10. Readers Comments.

1.     The Current Situation –

The people of Catalonia went to the polls on Sunday (25/11/2012) in regional elections after a snap call by Artur Mas, president of the Generalitat (the local government).
Mr Mas promised a referendum within four years and the election served as a quasi-referendum on secession.
The result amounted to the loss of 12 seats and was almost a disaster for Mr Mas's party
, Convergence and Union (CiU), but other pro-independence parties made significant gains and now control almost 2/3rds of the parliament with 87 seats.

Catalonia is an autonomous region in NW Spain, of 7.5 million people, which has a degree of autonomy from the central government in Madrid. The Generalitat (Parliament) is formed by 135 members, who are elected every four years or after extraordinary dissolution, with four constituencies, being the Catalan provinces of Barcelona, Tarragona, Lleida and Gerona.
In the last election, 2 years ago, the pro-separatist parties held a combined total of 86 (now 87).
The turn-out was 70% (19% more than last time) but there was no great swing towards independence as the 19% was fairly evenly distributed between the two camps; perhaps a wake-up call for Mr Mas, whose welfare and other cuts were not popular. (When are they ever?)
Mr Mas may have tried tried to ride the separatist wave, after 1.5 millon people demonstrated in September, demanding independence for Catalonia. Previously Mr Mas was a moderate, working for a greater degree of autonomy and only recently backed full Catalan independence. Clearly his election call stirred up enthusiasm for the idea but in the end he lost 12 seats and drove voters towards his competitors who were more representative of the separatist cause.
Nevertheless the CiU party holds more than double the number of seats of any other party and can form a government but Mr Mas now needs to work out a deal in order to proceed with his referendum promise.

There has always been a strong pro-independence movement in Catalonia but the recent upsurge has been triggered by the manner in which taxes are received and spent by Madrid.
Barcelona claims that the arrangements are unfair because around 9% of GRP (Gross Regional Product) is lost to them in favour of Spain's poorer regions. SEE- Facts and Figures
The regional debt is 44 Bn (44,000,000,000 Euros) Catalan News Agency. Catalonia has been effectively locked out of the bond market, because of the severe recession that is effecting the whole of Spain and will have to resort to relying on a bail-out from Madrid, which is currently being negotiated.
The pro-independence movement claims that Catalonia would have a better financial future as an independent state, due to its close location to France and northern Europe, would quickly be in a better position to attract foreign investment and return to a position of liquidity.

The pro-independents also say that they have a valid claim historically A SEE - History of Spain and Catalonia Also parallels can be drawn with Scotland's independence claim from the UK. However Mr Rajoy (the Spanish prime minister) is currently handling the matter in a completely different manner to his counter-part, David Cameron, who has tried to overwhelm the Scots with reasonableness by agreeing to a referendum on independence in 2014.

As recently as April 2011 Mr Mas's government had to be ferried by helicopter into parliament in order to avoid the angry “indignados”, who gathered in Barcelona to protest his budget cuts, but September this year witnessed the biggest independence march in Europe for 50 years with 1.5 million people thronging the streets of Barcelona.
The march was independently organised and Mr Mas did not attend. The slogan displayed on the marcher's banners was "Catalonia - New European State".

Mr Mr Mas promised to negotiate a better fiscal pact in his election manifesto but he was turned down by Madrid, and in July there was a proposal in the Madrid parliament that Catalonia should have a referendum on independence which was also voted down.
Since then it has been suggested that any further attempts by Mr Mas or his party to hold a referendum would be considered as an attempted coup d'état and it has even been suggested that Madrid would resort to the occupation of Catalonia by the military.
Consequently Mr. Mas's motive for calling an extraordinary election is to demonstrate clearly that the people of Catalonia demand a referendum on independence.

The argument behind Madrid's refusal to allow the referendum can be found in the Spanish Constitution (Article 2) which guarantees the "indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation, the common and indivisible country of all Spaniards". However on the other hand, that same article recognises the "right to autonomy of the nationalities and regions of which it is composed" and Article 20 protects "the right to freely express and disseminate thoughts, ideas and opinions through words, in writing or by any other means of communication". The Spanish Constitution

Spain's state pollster has long asked the Catalan people to define themselves as just Catalan, Catalan-Spanish or just Spanish. Two-thirds now say they feel both Catalan and Spanish, suggesting a halfway solution may exist. Just like Scotland, Catalonia has experienced migration, both inwards and outwards, during the past two decades which leaves the existing residents with a very difficult choice.

Mr Mas's referendum could ask the Catalans an ostensibly uncomplicated question: "Does Catalonia want to have its own state in the EU and adopt the Euro as its national currency?" but the answer may well lead them into uncharted waters because the legal opinion is that there is no precedent in the EU treaties for a separating state.
Furthermore, because such a treaty change would
require unanimity, they may well find that any attempt is vetoed by Spain or another country.

Additionally Catalonia's increasing interest in separatism may well spread to other regions, especially the Basque Country, at an unfortunate time for Madrid; the Spanish economy is experiencing a liquidity crisis due to the recession and there is an urgent need to convince her EU partners of the solidarity of the Spanish nation.
Meanwhile both camps seem to be manoeuvring into inextricable positions. On the one hand the pro-independents have promised a referendum. Whilst on the other, Madrid has threatened to prevent this by any means available, leaving both with the option of backing down (unlikely) or trying to find some common ground.

November 25th may well eventually become a milestone in the history of Europe because the people of Catalonia voted in an election that could determine, not just their future, but possibly the future for the whole of Spain and perhaps the European Union.

<<< Back to Top of Page >>>

 

2.     A brief history of Spain and Catalonia –

Early History: Catalonia and other areas of the Iberian Peninsula was colonised by the Ancient Greeks, who settled along the Mediterranean coast and, together with the Carthaginians, interacted with the original Iberians.
After the Carthaginian defeat by Rome the whole Iberian Peninsula became part of the Roman Empire.
The influence of Rome gradually diminished and the area now known as Catalonia was conquered by the Visigoths and ruled by them for 250 years.

The Moorish Invasion: In the 8th century, it came under Moorish control. Later the Franks drove the Moors out of the northernmost part of Catalonia and it became part of the Frankish Empire, whilst the remainder of the peninsula remained under control of the Moors.
In the Middle Ages the Moors were driven south and Catalonia established and ruled by the counts of Barcelona nominated by the emperor and then the king of France.
In 987, the count of Barcelona refused to recognise the French king Hugh Capet and a new dynasty emerged.

The Union of Aragon and Catalonia: In 1137, Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona married Queen Petronilla of Aragon and the Crown of Aragon was created.
By 1258 France had formally relinquished control over the Catalan counties to James I of Aragon, a descendant of Ramon Berenguer IV and Catalonia became the coastal territory of the Crown of Aragon.
In 1410, King Martin I died without surviving descendants and Ferdinand of Antequera received the Crown of Aragon as Ferdinand I of Aragon and his grandson, King Ferdinand II of Aragon, and Queen Isabella I of Castile married in 1469, becoming the Catholic Monarchs; this event could be construed as the first establishment of the Kingdom of Spain.
From this point, although united by marriage, the Crowns of Castile and Aragon controlled distinct territories, each maintaining its own traditional social institutions and laws.

The Catholic Kings: Ferdinand and Isabella were responsible for the Holy Wars and conquered the remaining Moorish territories to the south of the peninsula. Later they organised the Spanish Inquisition which effectively removed all jews and muslims who refused to convert to Catholicism.
In 1516 Charles I (Carlos I) became the first king to rule Castile-León and Aragon simultaneously in his own right, by virtue of descent from his maternal grandparents, Ferdinand and Isabella. Following the death of his paternal (Habsburg) grandfather, Maximilian I, he was also elected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
In 1700 the childless Charles II of Spain died and caused the bloody War of the Spanish Succession.

The Burbon Dynasty: Charles II had nominated Phillip V from the French Burbon Dynasty. Catalonia and the other territories that formed the Crown of Aragon rose up in support of the Habsburg pretender Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor. The fight between the houses of Bourbon and Habsburg for the throne split Spain and Europe and in 1714 the conflict was resolved by the Battle of Barcelona and Phillip became the first Burbon King. In an attempt to put down any further insurrection by the Catalans and Aragoneses, the new Bourbon king introduced a royal decree that incorporated the territories of the Crown of Aragon and Catalonia, as provinces within a united administration.

Recent History: It was not until the act of constitution in 1812 that the name "Españas" for the Spanish kingdom and the use of the title of "King of the Spains" were officially adopted .  The constitution of 1876 adopted for the first time the name "España" ("Spain") for the Spanish nation, and from then on monarchs used the title of "King of Spain".
The (Burbon) King Alfonso XIII went into exile in 1931 when the Second Spanish Republic was formed. Then followed the Spanish Civil War, which broadly speaking set Royalists against Republicans.
The victory for the Royalists brought General Francisco Franco to power but he was not interested in restoring the Monarchy.
Franco suppressed any kind of public activities associated with Catalan nationalism. Part of this suppression forbade the use of Catalan in government-run institutions and during public events was banned. Nevertheless publishing in Catalan continued throughout the dictatorship.
During later stages of Franco's rule this suppression was gradually lifted and the use of Catalan in the mass media was permitted from the early 1950's.
Wkipedia - The History of Catalonia

The Death of General Francisco Franco: In his latter years Franco nominated Juan Carlos (the grandson of Alfonso XIII) as his successor and in 1962 Juan Carlos married Sophia of Greece and Denmark.
During the latter years of Franco's life Prince Juan Carlos publicly supported Franco's regime and praised Franco and his government for the economic growth and liberal changes in Spain.
As the years progressed, Juan Carlos began negotiating secretly with opposition leaders, who were working towards radical reform to the country.
On 22 November 1975, two days after General Francisco Franco's death, Juan Carlos was designated King of Spain, according to the law of succession and promoted by Franco.
Wikipedia - Juan Carlos I

The New Democracy: On 15 June 1977, Spain held its first post-Franco democratic elections.
The Spanish Constitution of 1978, voted in referendum, acknowledges Juan Carlos I expressly as King of Spain, the head-of-state and commander-in-chief of the Spanish Armed Forces.

After Franco's death and the adoption of a democratic Spanish Constitution, Catalonia recovered political and cultural autonomy.
Today, Catalonia is one of the most economically dynamic regions of Spain. The Catalan capital and largest city, Barcelona, is a major international cultural centre and a major tourist destination.

<<< Back to Top of Page >>>

 

3.     Controversial Viewpoints from Either Side –

 

 

<<< Back to Top of Page >>>

 

4.     The EU and the Euro.  Legal and Financial Issues –

 

 

<<< Back to Top of Page >>>

 

5.     Facts and Figures –

 

 

<<< Back to Top of Page >>>

 

6.     Freedom of Speech and Expression Issues –

 

 

<<< Back to Top of Page >>>

 

7.     Current similar Examples and others from Recent History –

 

 

<<< Back to Top of Page >>>

 

8.     Addendum –

 

<<< Back to Top of Page >>>

 

 

9.     Editors and Co-editors Profiles –

 

 

10.  Readers Comments -