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Catalonia, Again



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James Saft, writing for IFR:

[Artur Mas’s]  CiU party is likely to win an outright majority in the regional parliament in the election, which he is casting as a vote over independence, a concept rejected by central government. Catalonia, heavily industrialised and wealthy, pays in far more in taxes to central government than it receives in spending

“If we can go ahead with a referendum because the government authorises it, it’s better. If not, we should do it anyway,” Mas told the regional parliament Wednesday. “This is about Catalonia being able to exercise its right to self-determination.”

… Catalonia, heavily industrialised and wealthy, pays in far more in taxes to central government than it receives in spending. It is also in desperate need of funds to meet upcoming bond obligations, and is in the process of negotiating a €5bn bailout from a recently set up central fund. Recent polls show independence from Spain is favoured by more than half of all Catalans, who resent the flow of tax dollars out of the region. It accounts for about a fifth of all Spanish economic output, and as a standalone country would be roughly the size of Austria.

There’s nothing particularly unusual about one part of a country subsidizing another. The problem starts when those doing the subsidizing don’t believe that they are really part of the same nation as those who are receiving their largesse. Many Catalans clearly feel that they do not belong within a united Spain.

And do the Germans, Greeks, Portuguese and Finns really think that they are part of one  “European” nation?

To ask that question is to answer it.

Not that the Germans, Greeks, Portuguese and Finns will be asked.



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