Europe’s next independent state?
It is weathy, industrial and sees itself as the regional engine for growth. It is also fed up with paying for its poorer neighbours, It is not a Germany, but Catalonia. And the Spanish regions politicians certainly don’t mind the comparison. Catalonia is an autonomous community of Spain, with the official status of "nationality". Its capital and largest city Barcelona, which is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid. _______________________________________________________________________________ With one of the highest standards of living in Europe, Catalonia has a •population of more than 7 million
•wich is 16% of the Spanish population, similar to the population of Switzerland. •GDP: €200 billion
•18.7% of Spanish GDP, similar to the GDP of Finland.
•GDP per capita of €30,500, which would rank it seventh in the European Union, just behind Denmark and ahead of Germany. _______________________________________________________________________________ Catalonia is known as the "factory of Spain" for generating wealth that helped sustain the entire nation. Now Catalonia, beaten down by years of recession, has become the battleground. The banner in Barcelona’s central square reads: “Catalonia, next independent state in Europe” With large and small protests, hundreds of thousands of Catalans say that only by breaking ties with Spain and becoming an independent country, Catalonia can free itself from economic malaise. ______________________________________________________________________________ Reasons for dissatisfaction
In August, Catalonia said it would need a €5 billion bailout from the national government to make debt payments. Catalan officials say they would have no need for budget-cutting or bailouts if the central government were distributing tax revenue fairly. 43 cents of every euro Catalonia pays in taxes, which don’t come home. The annual deficit between what Catalonia pays in taxes and...