By Panayiotis Alimisis
The rapid political developments in Catalonia Spain, shows without doubt the dynamics of the independence movement under the «revolutionary mind» of the local leader Carlos Puigdemont. Inside this lively Spanish province, the majority of the people and the political parties confront the possibility of an independent state from a positive angle. Despite, however, the fact that most Catalans favor more than ever an independent state, a significant part of the population and the left –orientated local parties and some collectivities, resist the idea fearing for the consequences.
Catalan leadership, urged desperately international mediation, but there is o any sign so far from the rest of the world. Already the dominating economic and military powers, United States of America and the EU, made clear that they will «speak only with Rajoi», therefore excluding any Catalan presence from future negotiations. Russia and China on the other hand, try to keep a distance from the recent events, although both don’t seem to favor a divided Spain. Especially the EU, is emphatically against the Spanish disintegration, because it could become the «inspiration» of other independent movements in Europe (North Italy, Belgium) which might trigger its own collapse. At the same time, it’s true that the EU which usually wary of secessionist movements, sees the Spanish crisis as a pure internal matter.
Additionally, there hasn’t been any kind of official financial plan or project from Puigdemont which will guarantee the functioning of the Catalan economy after a potential independence. Since the beginning of October, a lot of companies and banks (1600 to be precise) left the province, causing a small economic «earthquake» in Spain, not to mention the upcoming financial impact on tourism. Catalonia accounts nearly a fifth of Spain’s economic output, but also has a huge pile of debt and owes €52bn (that makes about £46bn or $60bn) to the Spanish government. Generally speaking, the «globalization forces» (most notably: mainstream media, multinational companies with interest in Spain e.t.c) are so influential, leaving the Catalan leadership «naked» without strong allies…
Madrid’s plan the… hard way
Madrid, on the other hand, doesn’t want to face another economic crisis, due to Catalonia, therefore, the Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoi will take any measure necessary to avoid it. Most probably, he will try to persuade at any cost the Catalans to come back on track by giving them in return–perhaps- more freedoms. The Spanish leader, now looks desperately for a new pro-Spanish leadership in Barcelona (after the 21st of December local elections in Catalonia), capable to diminish the strong influence of the nationalists once and for all. But he knows very well that he must act in a way that will not resurrect the anger of the Basques, who also have their own desire for independence… The volatile atmosphere in Barcelona could explode any time if Madrid adopts strong-arm tactics to impose peace and order. So the big question is whether Rajoi is in a position to come with a long term «peace plan» in the next months to come, without «bleeding nose»…
Panayiotis Alimisis is a journalist. He studied Modern History and International Relations at London Metropolitan University