Through a Catalan newspaper I read that Bernhard von Grünberg, a German deputy from the North Rhine-Westphalia landtag (one of the german regional parliaments) recently sent a letter to the leader of the European Socialist Party, Martin Schulz, urging him to involve the European Parliament to prevent another potential instability focus in Europe, especially after the Spanish Constitutional Court cut down the Catalan Statute that had been previously accepted by the Spanish Parliament. Mr Von Grünberg urged Mr Schulz to take action since winds of change seem to be blowing in the Spanish State.
Mr Von Grünberg also sent a letter to the Spanish Ambassador in Germany, Rafael Dezcallar. Mr Von Grünberg explained Mr Dezcallar the necessity to reform the Spanish Constitution to regulate the relationship and attributions of the Spanish Autonomous Communities, such as Catalonia, more clearly within the Spanish State.
First, I want to thank Mr Von Grünberg for showing interest in the situation in Catalonia. Even though I don’t doubt of his good intentions I think he has misjudged Spain. He probably believes that since it is a rich country that belongs to the European Union they must have a strong democratic culture. A mistake which can only be explained with the ingenuity that most people still judge Spain. Highly probably his requests are going to be in vain and all he’s likely to get from Spanish authorities is a wall of silence or some polite void of content reply.
Even though a Constitutional reform to convert Spain into a real federal state to give the nations it contains the required recognition should be the logical path to follow for a Spain that wants to remain “united” he has to understand the situation. Spain has never felt in the last several hundred years more proud and powerful than now, coming from being an chronically undeveloped and poor country to being one of the biggest economies in the world in only a few decades. Their aim has been instead to use this euphoric state to finish the job, to turn Spain into a uniform Castilian province, their 500 year old project, they obviously haven’t suceeded but their pride stops them from realising this and look for an intelligent solution.
The international opinion must also undergo the same process us Catalans have gone through to understand the situation and understand that Catalonia’s independence is, as of today, inevitable. First, we’ve done our homework, we’ve done everything that could be done. We tried to follow the established rules within the Spanish Constitution and change the Catalan Statute to create a more favorable situation. Catalans also were fooled into believing, that once Spain was rich and “democratic” it would understand Catalan demands for greater self government and recognition especially after decisively contributing for many decades to developing it. Not only Catalan demands have met with a wall of institutional hostility but also Spain refuses to accept any democratic paths that Catalonia has proposed, be it by reforming the Catalan Statute, Spanish Constitution or attempting to organise a referendum of independece and frustrating on the way the aspirations of the majority of the Catalan population of greater self-government.
The problem is that the image of Spain as an economic success is proving to be a mirage. Spain is, in fact, a subsidies dependent country. The size its economy has reached has been thanks to the generous European Subsidies for the last 20+ years plus the Catalan fiscal plundering, with the latter amounting to 22000 million euros every year. That has allowed them to build first class oversized and loss-making infrastructures and public services while avoiding a reform of its productive model by growing thanks to a an economy based on speculation and low added value activities that can now easily be relocated to cheaper countries. Now the only way for Spain’s economy is to deflate until it reaches a balance and undergo some very painful deep reforms of its productive model if it doesn’t want to get stuck in a chronic crisis but either way it is going to go through a painful recession for many years to come and this will inevitably create a focus of political instability when the problems start affecting the citizens’ pockets. Problems that, let’s not forget, have been underlying all these years but sooner or later were bound to come to the surface.
Hopefully, the result of Mr Von Grünberg’s petition will allow him and many more people internationally to understand that the best thing for Europe is for Catalonia to become an independent state within the European Union. This not only will grant Catalans the same rights as a nation as most other European nations already enjoy but also will allow Catalonia to contribute to create a stronger Europe. Europe will gain a democratic, strong, and stable ally. A prosperous economy in the Southern European and Mediterranean areas. Thank you Mr Von Grünberg.