Catalonia’s Fight for Independence

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On October 27, 2017, the Catalan regional parliament voted for independence from Spain. The vote calls for the transfer of powers from Spain to an independently governed Catalonia. Already, Catalonia has its own distinct heritage, language, parliament, flag, and anthem. The parliamentary vote resulted with 70 in favor of independence, and just 10 opposed to it.

The Spanish Government has called this election illegal and has taken steps to remain unified with Catalonia. Spain tried to suspend the vote, but the voting continued, causing clashes involving citizens and police at the polling stations. Furthermore, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that he was dissolving the Catalan parliament and calling for regional elections to be held on the 21st of December.

Tension between Catalan and Spanish officials could damage both the region’s economy and Spain as a whole. This move for independence could also set an example for other countries with secessionist movements in Europe. While the United States, France, UK, and Germany have all called for a unified Spain, the movement for independence could start a trend among other countries, sparking a global revolution and transfer of power inside nations.

Catalonia’s Arguments for Independence:

  • Catalonia has its own culture and language.
  • Spain is unwilling to negotiate more autonomy. Independence is the only way the Catalan can take full control of their finances, infrastructure, and policing.
  • Catalonia pays more to Spain’s central government in taxes every year than it gets in return
  • Catalonia has a dynamic and robust economy. Eighteen million tourists visited the region last year–a quarter of Spain’s total visitors.
  • Catalonia could write its own laws and regulations for its economic and social needs.

Arguments against Catalonia’s Independence:

  • Independence would mean Catalonia would have to give up and reapply for EU membership.
  • An independent Catalonia would be required to print its own currency or continue to use the euro similarly to Kosovo and Montenegro–with no right to print their own currency or a seat at the European Central Bank.
  • Catalonia would struggle to borrow money from other countries because of its poor credit ratings.
  • Catalonia would leave NATO, leaving them without a military.
  • Independence for Catalonia could spark other movements in other countries, causing a global revolution.

Should Catalonia be able to declare independence from Spain? Are their arguments sufficient enough for them to secure their independence?

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About the author

Tom Paugh is an 18 year old from Wayland, MA and a member of the St. Mark’s Class of 2019. Tom is actively involved in St. Mark’s student life as a Dorm Prefect, Pathways Prefect, member of the St. Mark’s Model UN, Admission Prefect, and Peer Tutor. He is also currently pursuing a classics diploma from St. Mark’s as well. He aspires to get a degree in Business Management/Entrepreneurship so that he can start his own company. Tom has a strong passion for serving his community, and has completed stints at the Boys and Girls Club in Marlborough, MA, as well as volunteering at Brantwood Camp in Peterborough, NH. In addition to his academics, he enjoys playing soccer, hockey, and golf. In his free time, Tom likes to spend time with family, travel, and enjoy the outdoors.

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1 Comment

  1. Matthew Walsh

    There is no doubt that Catalonia will be far more able economically if they split from Spain. And it seems that the crackdowns and the policing that the Spanish government sanctioned have only created more resentment. It only makes sense that Catalonia gains independence.

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