Concierto económico for Catalonia, independence for Andalusia?

With observations regarding the possible implications for Extramaduran truckers and flamenco policy.

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.

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Last updated 03/04/2011

This post pre-dates my organ-grinding days, and may be imported from elsewhere.

Andalusia (152):

Basque Country (5): Basque Country may refer to: Basque Country, an autonomous community of Spain Basque Country, the approximate cultural area of the Basque people, culture and language Northern Basque Country or French Basque Country, the three northern provinces in France Southern Basque Country, the Basque provinces in Spain i.e.

Basque Economic Agreement (1): The Economic Agreement is a juridical instrument that regulates the taxation and financial relations between the General Administration of the Kingdom of Spain and the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country.

Battle of Guadalete (1): The Battle of Guadalete was fought in 711 or 712 at an unidentified location between the Christian Visigoths of Hispania under their king, Roderic, and the invading forces of the Muslim Umayyad Caliphate, composed of Arabs and Berbers under the commander Ṭāriq ibn Ziyad.

Catalonia (1155):

European Union (6):

Kaleboel (4307):

Mediterranean Sea (73): The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant.

Nationalism (100):

Navarre (3): Navarre; officially the Chartered Community of Navarre, is an autonomous community and province in northern Spain, bordering the Basque Autonomous Community, La Rioja, and Aragon in Spain and Nouvelle-Aquitaine in France.

Pork barrel (2):

Spain (1881):


  1. Andalusia already has a tax treaty with the central government guaranteeing expenditures as a percentage based on their population alone.

    But yeah, you can’t have rich regions guaranteed spending based on the GDP and poor based on their population, since it would add up to more that 100%.

  2. Do you think it means anything that the tick is a protected species in Al-andalus?

  3. To say that the Basque treasuries decide on their own what quantity do they give to the Spanish Treasury is a bit of an exaggeration, I think. Process of assigning that quote ( “cupo”) involves long negotiations between commissions from both sides. But the real outcome really is a bit similar to what you describe, as political pressure, and trying to avoid shaking that proverbial wasps’ net weakens National Treasury position.

    The Concierto is very popular here in the Basque country, even among Spanish nationalists like myself, and I can’t see anyone within reach of power ( that counts UPyD out, sorry) ready to even discuss the possibility of taking it away.

    But extending it to other parts of Spain (now Catalonia, tomorrow Madrid) would make the existence of a Spanish state impossible.

    The solution? I don’t see any.


  4. I agree with Javier that the outcome is very beneficial for the Basque Country and Navarre. But there is a Comisión Mixta de Cupo and a Junta Arbitral. So if the Concierto works to the detriment of Spanish finances it is a political, not a legal issue.

    Cataloonia now wants to copypaste this. The same Cataloonia that regularly goes into seizure over “café para todos” because giving every Autonomous Community a similar treatment -indeed, the very existence of so many CAs!- waters down the historical and cultural specificities of, above all, Catalans, Basques and Galicians. Now they want the same arrangement another Autonomous Community has gained based on its very specific historico-legal background.

    Why not everybody pick the best of everything and get rich instantly? Independence for everybody!

    But if these guys aren’t able to get their act *together* in Spain, not a dime from the EU for any of them once independent. Not with my money. It’s already hard to take that I’m paying them now, while Spain still exists and I live here.

  5. @Mao: I didn’t know they had clocks.
    @everybody: Next up in war-gaming: the Ecuatorian, sorry the Spanish, army vs the Mossos & the Ertzaintza.

  6. No, the PP is sure to win Andalucía.

    As for titheads, the same linked page also has the news the Saül Gordillo has been sacked. Yeah.

  7. Not that Arenas is a particularly compelling figure, but yeah. Seem to be a lot of natural soistas that feel they’ve been screwed by Chaves, Panzarrias and their idiot successor.

  8. Too much inbreeding makes you want new blood. Any new blood. Law of Nature.

    A thus revived PP can go either way: feel strong enough to make concessions to Catalonia (thus beginning another Spain), or feel too strong and revert to a very old Spain.

    Will be interesting. But most probably only until the first 100 days after the next general elections. Fuckups are waiting around every bend, and politics tends to be quite tedious here.

  9. In this outpost, we seem to have to deal with:

    1). Incumbent PSOE – although somewhat sanitized;
    2). An ex-PSOE mayor, recently returned from the inhabilitacion desert, running under an as yet unknown banner;
    3). PP – same lot of serial losers and bankrupt señoritos;
    4). A PP lista alternativa running as UPyD;
    5). IU-LV – with the once discredited vendor of a surplus 500,000 euro house (Let the rich pay!) zoomed back up to number 2.

    I’m voting for Al Máximo.

  10. …and all that within a more general setting of nation(er…)-wide snake charmers/snake oil salesmen.

    Standards are low. I’d vote for Max Headroom.

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