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Spanish economy is improving despite a growing political malaise

BARCELONA | By Joan Tapia | Last month, I warned about the serious political problem in Spain, which was (and is) focused on the Catalonian crisis and the rise of the new political party Podemos. Both could disrupt the political system and kill off imperfect bipartisanship. Meanwhile, the economy was starting to show some signs of improvement. In November, the perception that the economy is improving while politics are worsening has increased and multiplied. It is difficult to argue with the fact that the economy is going better than last year.

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Economic integration (particularly in Europe) provokes nationalism

WASHINGTON | By Pablo PardoSince the inception of constitutions in modern nation-states, none have undergone such turbulence as those drawn up in Europe. The raison d’être of the European Union is to avoid further turbulence in the future. It is no coincidence that the violent conflicts that have broken out in Europe since World War Two have been outside the EU, in former Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Russia, and Georgia.  

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Catalan Independence drive defying reality

MADRID | By Sean Duffy | This weekend´s controversial “non-binding consultation” has caused quite the stir in international media over the past number of days. Reports asserted that 80 % of Catalans had voted in favour of Catalonia becoming an independent state. Yet that figure ignores almost 60% of the electorate who chose not to take part in Sunday´s vote. Those numbers point to a rather more nuanced narrative than the one currently being posited by the Catalan independence movement and many reporters.

The fear of an accident which is beginning to dominate Spanish society

The independence of Catalonia and the future of Spain- reading the small print

MADRID | By Fernando G. Urbaneja | The debate about the independence of Catalonia is at the centre of Spain’s political concerns. The Catalan Government and the parties supporting it -covering a broad spectrum, from the centre to the extreme left- have taken every step to call the referendum (called query) that would open the door to independence. The Spanish authorities have taken steps to prevent a consultation-referendum which it says contravenes the text and spirit of the 1978 Spanish Constitution.

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Catalonia independence: not a divorce, but a fiscal pact

MADRID | The Corner | There is nothing better than politics to add volatility to the markets. After Catalan leader Artur Mas formally convoked a Nov. 9 referendum for Catalonia independence, the Spanish government is holding an emergency cabinet meeting Monday to launch a lawsuit aimed at blocking the vote. In the short term this clash could widen spreads in Spain and affect domestic banks with exposure to Catalonia, Morgan Stanley pointed out. The most probable scenario is a fiscal agreement, they believe.

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Spain and the Catalonian issue

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.


Spain may press criminal charges against Pujol tax fraud

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.