PIGS or Catalans?

A sample of the finest Spanish PIGS

The question is simple, if anyone had any doubts about how much Catalonia needs independence it has recently become clearer since the PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain), the countries that lived days of splendour and high growth before the financial crisis are now in deep financial trouble and have become Europe’s main concern.

Seems like Greece will soon need to be bailed out to avoid bankruptcy and the countries part of the eurozone will force a strict set of financial measures. Qualified voices (see video below) have raised to alert that Spain is on its way to put the stability of the Eurozone in serious trouble very soon. There’s even speculation that should the situation become critical Spain could be kicked out of the Eurozone.

The story goes far back in time, Spain’s economy is based in construction and other low added value activities such as tourism and has been dramatically hit by the crisis. Now it needs urgent structural changes to regain its competitiveness. Those measures should have been taken in the 90s but now without the flexibility of having its own currency the recurrent tool of devaluation is no longer available. Spain’s trade deficit amounts to a staggering 11% of its GDP and public debt has quickly reached worrying levels.

The recipe is painful, Spain must increase its productivity or lower salaries. Either solution would need very impopular measures that no government wants to take. Now that the situation has got serious the EU is urging Zapatero to start taking those measures but he’s proven to lack the leadership the situation requires. All Zapatero’s government has come up with so far is ineffective measures like planning to delay retirement age by two years until the age of 67. I have no plans of having to work two extra years of my life for the dubious privilege of holding a Spanish passport.

In the meantime not only is Catalonia being dramatically hit by the crisis but without the tools that only states have recovery is proving to be much more difficult than it should. The Generalitat, a de facto regional government with very limited power, can’t do much and Catalonia is definitely not Spain’s main concern so no help can be expected.

Independence has become a matter of survival for Catalonia unless it wants to risk being dragged to the abyss of bankruptcy where Spain is heading to and the possibility of being out of the Euro and the EU.

Independence would mean an instant boost of 21000 million euros (10% of our GDP) every year that are currently being plundered by Spain. It would mean being able to create policies for infrastructures, taxes, territorial distribution, education, health, immigration, cultural that make sense to us.

Financially an independent Catalonia would not be questioned to remain in the eurozone since its finances would pass the EU requirements from day 1. (Link to a PDF in Catalan)

We would be more flexible and better prepared to deal with this crisis in particular and the challenges of globalisation in general. In Europe, smaller countries, like Denmark, are in a much better position than the big ones since their size allows them to react quicker with the right policies.

The Spanish government’s policies are based on improvisation and irresponsibility. They have repeatedly proven unable to make the severe structural changes Spain needs in order to get out of this crisis. Every day Catalonia stays in it only makes it more difficult to get out.

I believe Catalonia will do much better as an independent state. I anything else at least we will be masters of our own destiny with nobody else to blame for our own failures and successes.

Are we gonna let Spain drag us down with them or will we decide to be a free nation? Do we want to be PIGS or Catalans? I will always choose freedom.

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