Spain's future in fire! Catalonia will be the catalyst to that future...
A most renowned Catalan philosopher one's said: "Catalan thought will always grow anew and survive those who would foolishly bury it"...
Two years after Spain began a policy of repressing the Catalan pro-independence movement, protests and civil-disobedience actions have been a daily routine. In Barcelona, tens of thousands took to the streets after the Supreme Court sentenced nine people, some for up to 13 years, for their mingling in organizing a vote for Catalan self-determination, which is against the will of the central government in Spain.
In this context, what really makes the situation crucial and on the brink of catastrophy for Spain's future as a country the way we know it, proves to be the results of the recent elections that took place two days ago (on November 10th), and showed a political scenery in deadlock!
The "socialist party" with Pedro Sanchez acquired the majority with122 seats, still not being able for self-efficiency. Second power proves to be the "folks party" with 88 seats, third party is the ultraconservative "vox party" with 52 seats and finally fourth power is "unidas podemos" party of Pablo Iglesias with 35 seats.
In order to make this political dead-end looming over Spain for so long go away, Spain's president Pedro Sanchez calls for cooperation all the political parties except for the ultraconservative "vox".
But how easy is it to make this scenery change? And what does it mean for the future of Spain?
The Catalan independence movement is not a new story. It didn't appear just like that, as claimed by politicians of the central government of Spain trying to bury it as a meaningless political parody. This movement has always existed and will always exist until this conflict gets resolved.
The referendum held in October 2017 shows that it has been treated as a "crime" and given the fact that the reactions to it are ridiculously harsh, we have people convicted who are guilty of no crime...
But the field where we need to look at, is Europe as a whole. Because this problem is not internal or regional but international. Europe remained silent for so long while violations of human rights were taking place. It is the first time in modern Europe that legitimately elected members of a parliament get imprisoned because of their political decisions. And that is a threat to the core of the fundamental values Europe holds as an entity.
Spanish culture has a deeply colonial approach, one we can find in an empire with privileges in decline and under threat!
Only this way it can be explained why it is so difficult for the Spanish government to approach the Catalans' movement and compromise. Because the only way they can approach them, is by eliminating the problem or intimidating its supporters.
Pedro Sanchez should move his head out of the sand and face reality. Separatist ethnicisism in Catalonia is enkindled by the fact that this rich region supports amidst the european debt crisis, a country in debt! Two years after the referendum for independence in Catalonia, the streets in Barcelona became a battlefield. On a national level, this inclination of the Catalans to refuse to support the overspending southern regions of Spain, stems from a logic similar to one we can find in the rich northeuropean countries.
Catalonia represents 1/5 of the total economic production of Spain, has a GDP (Gross Domestic Product) equal to the size of Portugal alone, and pays almost 10 billion euros more in taxes, than it gets back to services offered by the country.
If Spain and Sanchez play the cards wrong, a new and risky era for Spain will rise. An era that will transform a country into something completely different from what we know now. Spain is in total need of Catalonia. And as with Hong-Kong and China, there is no better way to compromise than to really listen to the demands of the other part, simply by realizing that the "colonial attitude" is only a foolish and obsolete obstacle, in the field of international relations. And if that is understood, then also a new era for the way political demands are treated, will eventually be given a chance to show its potential in future politics!
written by Themis Panagiotopoulou, PhD in Political Science