Student - October 8, 2015

Meanwhile in… Catalonië

In the news: Independence supporters won a majority in the Catalan parliament last week. They assert that this is enough to start devolution from Spain. Much to the displeasure of the Spanish government.

Commentary by Marta Portell Milán, Master’s student of Food Biotechnology

‘In Barcelona only the supporters of independence celebrated the election results on the streets. Together, the parties that want to separate from Spain have achieved a majority in parliament. However, only 47.75 percent of all those entitled to vote in Catalonia voted for independence. This is not the majority. Everyone is now claiming victory and that is making the situation confusing.

We are keen to devolve because we have always had a bad relationship with Spain. The government in Madrid has never listened to us, and this is despite the fact that we are the strongest region in the country economically. This has to change. Various attempts to achieve this have been made in the past. Catalonia once submitted a proposal for a new form of financing for the region and another calling for greater recognition of the Catalan identity. The Spanish government rejected these proposals without ever offering alternative solutions. Among many Catalans this has bred an aversion to Spain. Other parts of Spain, such as Navarra and the Basque Country, are economically independent. I think this would also be the best option for Catalonia. In the areas of culture, language and education, too, Catalonia must be able to make its own decisions. The Spanish government is making this impossible, which leads me to believe that independence is the only solution.

This will not happen immediately, but if the Spanish government does not change its attitude, support for separation will only increase. The question is what this will mean ultimately for the future of Catalonia. I think that we will always stay in the European Union and that Europe will help us in this matter. Whether we will have our own army is another issue because there is no military culture here.’