Something missing from the discussions I’ve seen regarding the constitutional future of Cataloonia has been any attempt to explain the practical workings and effects envisaged for one of the most important concepts, the concierto económico, or the effects of the bilateral tax treaties already in place between the Spanish state and Navarre and the Basque Country. UPyD–which apparently wishes to see all this kind of stuff all abolished and to progress towards a state with equal rights and responsibilities for all citizens–describes the Basque agreement as one that, lacking basic auditing, leaves to the Basque government to determine how much it wishes to contribute to central government, with the result that these two wealthy regions get more back than they put in. If that’s incorrect, then I hope someone will provide an explanation that is more accurate and at least as clear.
The implications of all this for the poorer regions are interesting: their ability to access funds from central government is thus severely squeezed, and with Spanish per capita GDP now above the European average they’re not going to be eligible for European solidarity either. I was talking about this the other night to someone on the insubstantial fringes of Nación Andaluza, a nationalist-socialist, would-be Batasuna/Esquerra Republicana micro-party. He said that he had done the sums, and that if the Catalan concierto económico is implemented then Andalusia would get more aid if it were an independent member of the European Union. (Ideologically they reject the notion that Andalusia or Spain are part of Europe, but pan-Mediterraneanism wouldn’t be half as lucrative.)
They’d also then be able to demand that in exchange for access to the Straits of Gibraltar Extremadura would have to give up its claim to part of flamenco heritage, which would be the Andalusian Nation’s greatest triumph since Blas Infante defeated Felipe II at the Battle of Guadalete. Maybe then they’d also buy my famous Spanish-Andalusian transformer.
- Translation of “The political economy of Catalan independence”
Clemente Polo has blogged a short book containing what feel like author-translated essays by him and four other anti-secessionists, José Luis
- Raymond Carr on the Basque problem
An excerpt from the Q&A session yesterday at the presentation of Raymond Carr’s new monster, El rostro cambiante de Clío: – Is
- Catalan retronecrophilia
I’m distinctly uneasy at the prospect of Catalonia being defined in a new statute of autonomy as a nation. The reason
- Betting on secession
A boring morning: I can’t find anyone who, following yesterday’s Catalan parliamentary elections, is prepared to bet against a ruling coalition
- Guardian prints any old bollocks about Catalonia
There’s a terrible piece by James Sturcke in the Guardian today on the statute of autonomy. It repeats various stale myths