Catalonia, one year later
A year after Catalonia’s botched declaration of independence, pro-independence parties still cling to power in the regional government but find themselves increasingly at odds with each other. Political gridlock has taken its toll on the Catalan economy, while urban dwellers are tilting toward the anti-independence camp. The choice appears to be between continued stalemate or an accommodation with Madrid, which would require a political realignment of pro-independence moderates with unionists.
New Spanish government’s strong start could strengthen EU
Spanish conservatives have managed to restore economic growth, but the shortcomings of Mariano Rajoy’s governing style and a corruption scandal have created an opening for their main rivals to take power. Thus far, socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is off to a surprisingly strong start.
Catalonia and why secession movements fail
Catalonia’s attempt to win independence failed due to resolute action by the central government and poor leadership in Barcelona. The case shows that when clumsy local politicians fail to consider economic consequences and propose drastic changes to the welfare state, support for independence crumbles. The future of secession movements in Europe, therefore, seems dim. Decentralization is a better alternative – one that does not threaten institutional shocks or alarm investors.
Nationalisms collide in Catalonia
If the situation after the Catalonian government’s declaration of independence were not so serious, it could be likened to a traditional Spanish farsa – a comedy of errors. Two national traditions have collided head-on – the republicanism of Catalonia and the military imperialism of Castile – and in modern-day Europe, it will be very difficult to resolve the conflict by purely legal means. Both sides have already made plenty of miscalculations.
Opinion: Regional disparities strike back in northern Italy
Two northern Italian regions have voted overwhelmingly in support of more autonomy from Rome. They are two of the country’s richest areas, frequently paying more in taxes than they receive in public spending, and the vote laid bare the dissatisfaction over this disparity. Worse, the money being transferred to poorer parts of Italy has not lifted them out of poverty. Italy can no longer sweep these issues under the rug. Federalism is now back on the table.