What's going on in Catalonia?
Do you know what's going on in Catalonia?
- Catalonia is nowadays part of Spain, but two thirds of the Catalan Parliament (90 out of 135 members of six political parties) are working to organize a self-determination referendum on November 9. It would ask two questions: "Do you want Catalonia to be a state?" and "Do you want that state to be independent?".
- Most Catalans support the right to self-determination, according the last Catalan elections held on November 25, 2012.
- Unlike the cases of the UK with Scotland, or Canada with Quebec, the Spanish Government does not allow Catalonia to vote this issue.
- Spanish ruling parties tried to build a homogenous country without respecting diversity, plurinationality and established self-government and agreements. This is clear in education and fiscal policies.
- Spain's system of sharing tax revenues among the 17 regions short-changes Catalonia by about €16 billion annually. That amounts to more than €2,000 per inhabitant, or around 8% of Catalonia's output. In Germany this is limited to 4% between Länder.
- The turning point was the Spanish Constitutional Court’s rejection of the new agreement on self-government, ratified in a referendum in 2006. The Court rewrote 14 articles and dictated the interpretation for 27 more, mainly relating to language, justice and fiscal policies. One million people marched on July 10, 2010 in Barcelona calling for national self-determination.
- Since 2010 most Catalans think that only the right of self-determination can guarantee the Catalans’ political, economic and cultural survival, and also good and strong welfare state policies. According to the latest opinion surveys, most Catalans are in favour of independence.
Who is leading?
- Several civil society organisations are pushing politicians to hold a referendum on self-determination despite the Spanish government’s rejection of such an action.
- 1.6 million people participated in a 480-km (300 miles) human chain in support of Catalan independence in September 2013. The previous year, 1.5 million people demonstrated in Barcelona in support of a new Catalan state in Europe.
- 512 municipalities held a civic referendum on independence organised by thousands of volunteers and organisations in 2009 and 2010. 1.5 million Catalans voted, mainly in favour of independence.
- Catalonia is a nation of 7.5 million inhabitants and has a distinctive culture and history. Barcelona, a Mediterranean and European city, is the capital. With a surface area of 32,107 square kilometres and a population density of 233 inhabitants per Km2, it is similar to Switzerland or Denmark.
- A multicultural society. 37% of Catalans were born abroad, enriching culture, and more than 200 languages are spoken there.
- A modern economy. Catalonia has a modern and strong economy based on industry. Logistics, tourism and the knowledge economy have grown faster in recent years. The GDP per capita is 26,600 euros (2010), higher than the EU27 average (24,500 euros) and similar to that of the UK (27,500 euros). Catalonia is also the top contributor to Spanish exports with 25%. The sale of goods from Catalan companies to the rest of the world was €58 billion in 2012 —surpassing the €49 billion in sales from the rest of Spain that year.
- Catalonia has its own Parliament and has been exercising its self-government as an autonomous community since 1977, when The Generalitat Government was re-established. The Spanish Constitution was approved in 1978. The Generalitat was established in 1359 and the Parliament in the 1283, which makes it one of the oldest in Europe.
- Catalonia lost its independence in the War of Succession of 1714, 300 years ago and Catalans have suffered repression and dictatorships throughout history, such as Franco’s regime (1939-1975). However, the region has kept its national identity, language, and culture alive.
- Catalans have made numerous contributions to universal culture. Well-known figures include Gaudí, Dalí, Miró, Tàpies, Pau Casals, Mercè Rodoreda and Ferran Adrià. Catalonia is also the home of the world-famous FC Barcelona football team.
- An official language: Catalan, the official language along with Spanish, is the common language used at school and it has a daily use in media, university, business, public administration and culture.
- A European language: 10 million people understand Catalan. It is the 9th most spoken language in the EU, situated ahead of 14 official EU languages.
- A living language: Catalan is the 19th language on Twitter and is very much alive on the Internet, with the .cat domain. The main mobile phone companies have adopted it as an option for their operating system interfaces.
Òmnium Cultural is an independent organisation founded in 1961 with over 38,000 members. Its main goals are to defend and promote the Catalan language, culture and social cohesion.
You could read more about Òmnium and for any further information, explanations please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
El debat a la xarxa