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.
MADRID | By Fernando G. Urbaneja | Hundreds of thousands of Catalonians marched for the third year in a row to claim their national sovereignty. The pro-independence way in Catalonia -which comes from a feeling more than a century old and from time to time strongly emerges to fight for its goal- is behind these demonstrations and tries to capitalize them.
MADRID | By Ana Fuentes | According to the US-based organisation One, corruption takes around $1tn a year out of poor countries and kills millions. Yet this evil is not strange to developed nations. In Spain, 127 politicians are facing corruption charges although they have not lost their jobs. The last big scandal affects former Catalan leader Jordi Pujol, who in July admitted hiding an inheritance abroad for more than 30 years. A storm embarrassing the current ruling regional government who has called a referendum in November on whether the region should break from the rest of Spain. Madrid may seek criminal charges, Spanish Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro (see picture above) said on Tuesday. For some analysts, this could be a strategy to dent nationalism support.
MADRID | The Corner | They keep coming and, more important, they spend more money, which adds to the recovery. Foreign tourists visiting Spain spent €2.63 billion in the first semester, a 7.8% more than in the same period of 2013, according to official data. British citizens are the biggest spenders, followed by the Germans. Tourism is a crucial sector of Spanish economy, accounting for more of 10% of GDP.
MADRID | By Fernando G. Ubaneja | Several corruption cases have put Spain under the international spotlight. The latest, which emerged by surprise on Friday and has been the talk of the town since then, is related to one its most controversial and rich regions: Catalonia. The independence campaign suffered a setback after the leading figure of Catalan nationalism Jordi Pujol admitted keeping undeclared funds in fiscal havens.
MADRID | By J.P. Marín Arrese | Spanish Finance Ministry published on Thursday a regional breakdown of public income and expenses, aimed at rebuking unfair fiscal claims from Catalonia’s regional government. The move comes a few days before its chairman, Artur Mas, meets Prime Minister Rajoy in a last ditch attempt to defuse the current rift over self-rule. It has already being hotly contested by Mr Mas, as an open challenge to his core request for better budgetary treatment. It will hardly contribute to a favourable climate before that key meeting by closing the door to any face-saving outcome based on buying time in exchange of extra money.
MADRID | By J. P. Marín Arrese | Water and power supply would be secured should Catalonia become an independent nation. That’s the only reassuring conclusion the economic think tank set up by the regional government has recently reached. On handling monetary and financial issues, it points to severe problems ahead.
MADRID | By Fernando G. Urbaneja | Catalonia government has put a date (November 9, 2014) to a secessionist referendum. The independence movement has overcome another obstacle to approach its final goal. Those who argue they are tactical moves to modify the financial model are running out of arguments, for this is something much more important that affects Spain. Its consequences are unpredictable, and catastrophic from any point of view. [Video: Euronews]
There is a mirroring effect in all these conflicts: Europeans appear unable to talk about the actual issues that trouble them, that is, debt and democracy.
MADRID | The Spanish government has suddenly disappeared from Europe’s scene. In the midst of a deep recession it crosses fingers hoping the German general elections’ aftermath might break the current deadlock on financial mutualisation and help to reconstitute the Southern front.