22nd Mar 2018

All eyes on Catalan election

  • A Catalan independence rally (Photo: SBA73)

Catalans will cast their vote for a new regional assembly on Sunday (25 November) in an election that could have considerable consequences for Catalonia and the rest of Spain.

Catalan separatist parties wishing to split from Spain are set to win most of the seats in the Catalan Parliament and current Catalan President Artur Mas is expected to continue on his post. His centre-right alliance party Convergència i Unió (CiU) will most likely regain majority ahead of the left-wing independentist Esquerra party, but short of the absolute majority they had hoped for.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The election campaign has been ugly with Mas accusing the conservative Partido Popular government in Madrid of standing behind a personal smear campaign and of scaremongering to dissuade Catalans from voting for CiU.

Madrid, on the other hand, has said the Catalan government is unjustly blaming Madrid for Catalonia's economic woes.

A recent convert to independence, Mas called for early elections last September after Barcelona and Madrid failed to reach agreement on a new fiscal pact. The Catalan government wanted the right to collect and decide on the region’s own taxes instead of passing them on to Madrid, as it currently does.

Spanish President Mariano Rajoy opposed the move. This prompted Mas to state that the Catalans would be better off creating “a state of their own”. If the new Catalan Parliament, as expected, has pro-separatist parliamentarians making up two thirds of its ranks, this will pave the way for a referendum on the independence of Catalonia – despite strong resistance from Madrid.

One of Spain’s 17 regions, Catalonia is responsible for a fifth of the Spanish economy, which in turn is the 4th largest economy in the eurozone. European capitals will therefore also take note of the Catalan election results as Rajoy is trying to avoid a bailout from Europe despite a severe recession in Spain.

Catalans have long complained that despite the Catalan region being one of the biggest contributors to the Spanish budget, they get much less back in funding for services and public works. The deficit lies at around €15 billion, according to the Catalan government. The north eastern region is also a heavily indebted region.

They also complain that the rest of Spain does not respect their different Catalan identity and language. Catalans were outraged two years ago when the Spanish Constitutional Court eliminated some aspects of their autonomy in an updated regional statute despite it being approved by the Spanish Parliament four years before.

The worsening economic situation and the high unemployment numbers in Spain has only amplified the separatist feeling in Catalonia. This came to a climax on Catalan national day on 11 September this year when more than one million of Catalonia’s 7.5 million citizens took to the streets of Barcelona to call for independence.

Meanwhile, an eventual referendum on Catalonian independence would raise many awkward questions in Brussels - not least whether the would-be independent region would have to re-apply for EU membership.


Catalan separatist looks to crisis with hope

It is often said that on the long and winding road to European union, it takes a crisis to move ahead. Now the same may be true for regional independence. "Independentism has become a cross-cutting movement."

Catalan region renews call for independence

One and a half million people gathered in Barcelona on Tuesday demanding independence from Spain. It was the biggest self-rule rally ever in Catalonia.

Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case

The European Commission repeated that it followed the rules when its former head joined Goldman Sachs - and suggested it will not follow the EU Ombudsman's demand to refer the case back to the ethics committee.

News in Brief

  1. EU will be exempted from tariffs, says US minister
  2. Malmstroem: EU 'hopes' for US tariffs exemption
  3. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says
  4. Italy's centre-right set to share top posts with 5-star movement
  5. Brussels condemns tear gas in Kosovo parliament
  6. Finland pays billionaire €400,000 in EU farm subsidies
  7. 44 leaders sign up for Africa free trade area deal
  8. British 'blue' passports to be made in EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU summit takes hard look at Russia
  2. Germany casts doubt on Austrian intelligence sharing
  3. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  4. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  5. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  6. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  7. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  8. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions