There are regions within many countries that have sought greater autonomy, such as Scotland in the United Kingdom, Flanders in Belgium, Corsica in France and Catalonia in Spain.
In this sense, the following question arises: if these regions live in prosperous countries, why try to separate from them? The latter, the case of Catalonia, may explain why some European regions have sought greater independence and sometimes independence.
Catalonia is a prosperous region in Spain: its 7.5 million residents represent 16 percent of Spain’s total population and generate about one-fifth of Spanish GDP. Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is famous for its beauty and attracts many tourists from all over the world. In addition, Catalonia elects its local government democratically in terms of the separation of powers and the rule of law.
Catalonia has been part of Spain for over 500 years and until recently the governments of Madrid and Barcelona have operated without major problems. Catalans have always claimed some degree of autonomy and recognition of their own culture, but more recently these demands have turned into a nationalist call for independence and secession from Spain. How has this change happened?
The roots of modern Catalan nationalism and the current independence movement go back to the Spanish Civil War. Before the war, Catalonia enjoyed a comfortable degree of autonomy, but after the conflict, the Franco-designed authoritarian state abolished Catalan political institutions, banned the Catalan language, and banned symbolic elements of Catalan identity. banned. It was not until after Franco’s death that Catalonia regained its independence within Spanish territory, and in later years the region played an important role in Spain’s democratization and its accession to the European Union. However, political and economic events turned Catalan nationalism into a separatist movement.
In the political aspect, Catalonia’s lack of support from the Spanish government for the new Statute of Autonomy gave rise to mistrust of Madrid. In the economic aspect, austerity measures imposed by the Spanish government after the 2008 crisis affected Catalonia more than other autonomous communities. The region demanded greater financial autonomy, but their requests were not heeded.
All of these factors gave rise to sentiments closely related to the rise of separatism in Catalonia; For the first time in Catalan history, it appeared as a valid alternative. Today, Catalonia and Madrid have managed to calm things down; However, the desire for greater independence in Catalonia remains latent.
The case of Catalonia shows the need for us to work on the political, social, cultural and economic structures within the communities in each country; Despite the formation of a single political entity, it is necessary for the state to promote the preservation of the language, culture and customs of each region. The Catalan independence movement has highlighted the need to seek a better political strategy and mechanisms that meet the needs of the different regions. Apart from avoiding disintegration, it will be a matter of seeking integration, recognizing the differences and autonomy of different regions.
The quest for greater autonomy: the case of Catalonia