So last weekend we had the regional elections in Catalonia and of course the only real subject was the potential split of the (so called) autonomous community from the rest of Spain. But what would an independent Catalonia actually look like?
Catalonia faces two mains options with respect to its currency. It could take on a new currency, revert to the Peseta, originally derived from the Catalan Peça anyway, or sign an accord with the EU which will let them stick with the Euro — the preferred option of the Catalan government’s National Transition Advisory Council.
On the international level, a Catalonia Football team would be a serious heavyweight and clashes with neighbours Spain spectacular. At the club level though, things could get mind-numbingly dull with Barcelona winning year in year out. The head of Spain’s football league said that if Spain splits, Barcelona and across city rivals Espanyol will have to leave La Liga.
Catalonia’s current regional ‘senyera’ flag with its yellow and red horizontal stripes is very elegant, while nothing says independence more than the ‘estelada’ with its single star. But a split from the rest of Spain is a chance for Catalonia to do something really different, while keeping to the same Aragon-inflected colour scheme.
Adiós Castellano, Benvinguts Catalan. Languages are key to forming national identity. An independent Catalonia would most likely pump plenty of money into shoring up the place of Catalan as the number one national language, in schools, in institutions, and on the streets. An already vital Catalan-language culture could become even stronger but people’s Castellano skills might suffer as a result, making Catalonia less bilingual than it already is.
Catalonia’s gross domestic product in 2014 was €200 billion, the highest of all of Spain’s autonomous communities. Its GDP per capita was about €28.200 in 2014, the regional stats authority said. That would make an independent Catalonia one of Europe’s wealthiest countries, with a per capital GDP just shy of that of the UK or France. In Spain in 2014, by comparison, the figure was €22.800.
Independence could be catching. If Catalonia did split from the rest of Spain, there might be a domino effect with the Basques and Galicians – who already have strong independent movements of their own – following hot on its heels. And if Catalonia proves a success story, envious Catalan-speaking territories like the Balearic Islands and Valencia might want to join up with their larger neighbour.
Pro-independence leaders insist that should Catalonia secede, Catalans would be able to hold double Spanish-Catalan nationality as the constitution guarantees that no Spanish natives can have their nationality withdrawn. But Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel García Margallo, in the run up to the election, warned Catalans they would “lose Spanish nationality if the region secedes from Spain.
If Catalonia becomes independent, it will achieve what many Spaniards would also like to see: the new country would be a republic. Chances are though, that Spain’s glamorous king and queen would continue to be fodder for Catalan television shows, gossip magazines and tabloid newspapers.
Of course I checked this week what the locals here in Andalusia feel about it all, but it varies from don’t know/don’t care attitudes to the ‘God only knows’ helpless gestures.