Monday

25th Jun 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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

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.

Magazine

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.

Interview

Academic to probe EU's secret law-making

A German PhD candidate has recently started conducting interviews about how the EU's behind-closed-doors 'trilogues' actually work. "Now the fun work starts," he says.

News in Brief

  1. Nine countries to sign up for Macron's military initiative
  2. Re-elected Erdogan potentially in power until 2028
  3. Macron's popularity drops among French pensioners
  4. Tajani calls for €6bn investment to halt migration
  5. Major demo in London for second EU referendum
  6. Venice Commission: Hungary should repeal NGO law
  7. Trump threatens to slap 20 percent tariff on EU cars
  8. EU closes deficit procedure against France

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  2. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  4. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  5. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  7. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  11. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  12. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform

Latest News

  1. Progressive CAP alternative only hope for sustainability
  2. Ponytailed green MEP joins 'the other side of the table'
  3. EU leaders still in search of migration plan
  4. Migration row at centre of EU summit This Week
  5. Merkel's woes cast shadow on EU's future
  6. Europe's tech race - trying to keep pace with US and China
  7. Merkel and Juncker's mini-summit risks fiasco
  8. Greece and creditors proclaim 'end of crisis'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us