January 26, 2014


Catalan Academics Press Separatist Drive (MATT MOFFETT, Jan. 24, 2014, WSJ)

Buoyed by polls showing majority support for secession, the Catalan parliament in Barcelona this month voted to hold a referendum on Nov. 9. The central government in Madrid has vowed to block a vote, which it says would be unconstitutional, but that hasn't quieted the debate.

On blogs, in interviews and in meetings with business and citizen groups, the six academics argue that Spain's system of sharing tax revenues among the 17 regions shortchanges Catalonia by about €16 billion ($22 billion) annually. That amounts to more than €2,000 per inhabitant, or around 8% of Catalonia's output, based on public tax and investment data, the academics say.

They argue that the northeastern region of 7.5 million people could become not only a viable country, but quite possibly an economic juggernaut.

Catalonia, which has a distinctive culture and language, has long had a strained relationship with Madrid, but the collapse of Spain's economy in 2008 has left regions scrambling for resources and brought tensions to a boil.

Posted by at January 26, 2014 7:44 AM

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