It’s not easy to find a dyed-in-the-wool Eurosceptic in Spain. There’s a simple explanation for that: since joining the European Union in 1986, the country has benefitted substantially and tangibly from bloc funding.
Articles by Guy Hedgecoe
About the Author
Of all the problems thrown up by Brexit, one of most emotionally charged is the impact it will have on foreigners living in the UK and British citizens living abroad. The other evening in Madrid at a forum on the implications of Brexit, I got a glimpse of the strength of feeling that it generates among the British community in Spain (estimated at around 300,000) and the Spanish community in the UK believed to be around 200,000.
If one specific scandal crystalized the Spanish elite’s excesses of recent times, it’s that of former president of Bankia Rodrigo Rato going on trial for misappropriation of funds in the High Court. Punishing Rato and others responsible for such injustices is crucial from a legal and moral point of view. But when it comes to restoring credibility, it is Spain’s banks, not the justice system, that face the really hard work.
In Madrid, much of the media and most commentators, -not to mention the big national parties — tend to be bewildered, if not outraged, by the secessionist drive. When in Catalonia (or at least speaking to independentistas), I find that the opposite is true: disenchantment with and disdain for the Spanish state is almost a given and the word “independence” tossed around as if it were a football.