Catalonia Independence, I



fierce fiercely referendum
claim declare determination
tower collision course (2)
rule tension majority
deem illegal austerity
court oppose constitution
seize restore date back
vote emerge resource
unify decide spectacular
region hub (2) incorporate
arrest census hell-bent
gap demand parliament
public bid (2) precedent
raid fuel (2) better off
reject prop up on its own
ballot rebound benefits (2)
thrive context preferential
status collide strengthen
GDP promise take into account
claim right (4) coalition
insult refusal infuriate
elect defend point (3)
MP opinion popular vote
gain majority questionable
poll head on point to the fact
likely pro (2) hang in the balance
crisis mature set a precedent
state proceed hang/hung/hung






Tensions are rising in Catalonia: an independence referendum is planned for October the first. And if the majority vote “yes”, the Catalan government says it will declare independence from Spain.

Raul Romeva, MP, Catalan Parliament: “We are ready to do it; we have the determination to do it.”

Raul Romeva is a member of the Catalan parliament which favors independence, a parliament set on a collision course with the Spanish government in Madrid.

Xavier Albiol, Leader of People’s Party: “The future of Spain has to be decided by all the Spanish people.”

Xavier Albiol is the leader of the Catalan branch of Spain’s ruling People’s Party.

His party fiercely opposes the referendum that has been deemed illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court.

Police have raided Catalan government offices, seized ballot papers and arrested at least 12 officials in a bid to stop the vote.

Catalonia has been a part of Spain since the country first emerged as a unified kingdom in 1469.

Famous for its spectacular human towers, a tradition dating back to the 18th century, Catalonia is one of Spain’s wealthiest regions, incorporating the tourist hub of Barcelona, and a thriving manufacturing industry.

It already enjoys more self-government than almost any other European region.

So why are so many Catalans discontented with their lot?

Pro-independence supporters claim Catalonia is robbed by Spain. The gap between what Catalans pay in taxes and what they get back in services is $10 billion Euros per year.

That’s around four percent of Catalonia’s GDP.

Raul Romeva, MP, Catalan Parliament: “Is there a problem of tax collection in Catalonia? No, there is not. So why is there a problem there?

Because they are public resources, but if those resources are not used to improve the quality of life of the people, then there is a problem in the middle.”

Spain’s financial crisis and the austerity that followed fuelled the pro-independence movement who claimed that Catalonia would be much better off on its own.

But in many countries, the wealthier regions prop up the poorer ones.

Opponents of independence say that being part of a bigger country will make everyone better off.

Xavier Albiol, Leader of People’s Party: “At the moment, Spain is the country in the EU which is growing the most; more jobs are being created. And that directly benefits Catalonia.

All told, united we are strong.”

Under General Francisco Franco’s dictatorship, Catalan could not be used in any official context.

Since democracy was restored in 1978, the language has rebounded: a 2001 census found that Catalan was spoken by 75% of the population, and it is now the main language in the region’s schools.

But in 2010, the Spanish courts rejected a change to the constitution that would have given the Catalan language preferential status. Many Catalans viewed this as an insult, and it strengthened pro-independence feeling.

Raul Romeva, MP, Catalan Parliament: First of all we are democrats, which mean that when we demand to be treated as a mature society, we mean this. When we demand that the opinion of the people is taken into account, we mean this.”

Catalonia’s pro-independence leaders claim that the referendum is a democratic right. Madrid’s refusal to acknowledge this infuriates them.

The ruling coalition was voted into power in 2015 on the promise of a referendum — and now they feel they have a mandate.

Raul Romeva, MP, Catalan Parliament: “It was a clear result: 72 MPs were elected defending the idea that Catalonia should be a state. That’s a huge majority of the Catalan parliament which has 135 MPs.

Well, for the first time, we have a clear majority in the parliament defending that opinion.”

Nationalists say they have a mandate, but it’s a questionable. Although they gained 53% of the seats in parliament, they won only 48% of the popular vote.

And opinion polls show that 71% of the population wants a referendum, but only 41% are likely to vote “yes”.

Xavier Albiol, Leader of People’s Party: “All the polls point to the fact there is no majority in favor of independence. What is true is there is a feeling some things need to improve. But in no case is the feeling of independence held by the majority.”

The Catalan government is hell-bent on proceeding with the referendum, setting a precedent for other regions such as the Basque country to follow.

With regional and state governments set to collide head-on on October 1st the unity of Spain hangs in the balance.

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Are all Catalans and (non-Catalan) Spaniards united regarding the independence of Catalonia; or is this is a very divisive and controversial issue? Has the movement been (entirely) peaceful and proceeding without violence?

Basque Country.
What is the central legal issue regarding Catalonian independence?

Galicia. Has Catalonia always been part of Spain? How long has Catalonia been part of Spain? Does it have much autonomy or does the central government of Spain (Madrid) control everything?

Andalusia. “Is there a problem of tax collection in Catalonia? No, there is not . . . but if those resources are not used to improve the quality of life of the people, then there is a problem in the middle.” What does this mean?

Ibiza, Majorca, Balearic Islands.
The global financial crisis of 2008 united and brought everyone closer together. Is this right or wrong? Is there agreement or disagreement over whether Catalonia’s economy would be better or worse if they were independent?

Canary Islands.
Are the debate and arguments only about finance and economics?

Castile and Leon
The government and residents of Catalonia are solidly behind independence. They all support independence. Is this correct or incorrect?


Do you think there are other reasons, not mentioned in the video, that many Catalans want independence and why most Spaniards are opposed to it?

Madrid. Are people in your country interested in what is happening in Catalonia and Spain or are they indifferent or it depends on the individual?

Seville, Cordoba, Malaga, Granada. Catalonia (and Kurdistan, Quebec, Tibet, etc) should become independent. What do you think? I completely agree; I somewhat agree, in the middle, yes and no, I’m not sure; I disagree somewhat; I totally disagree. What do people in your country think?

Portugal. Have there been independence movements in your country? Has your country gained independence from another?

The Rock of Gibraltar.
What will happen in the future?


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