FXstreet.com (San Francisco) - 2 million Catalans have taken the
streets in Barcelona on Tuesday claiming for independence.
Catalonia was forced to ask bailout to Spain central government a
months ago after facing serious problems to refinance its debt.
Catalans argue that the unequal taxes balance between money the
region pays to Madrid and the amount that central government sends
back is forcing them to have debt/GDP ratio in dangerous number.
Barcelona wants to negotiate new fiscal agreement between Catalonia
and Spain, reducing the Catalan solidarity contribution, but
Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy is refusing this possibility.
The 'Generalitat,' the Catalan Government, has calculated that
Catalonia has been giving away 8.5% of its GDP per year during the
last 20 years. In 2011, Catalonia had a 3.7% deficit.
In May, Artur Mar asked for bailout saying that "Spain's wealthiest
autonomous region, Catalonia, needs financing help from the central
government because it is running out of options for refinancing
debt this year." In the second half of 2012, the Catalan government
has to face maturities by €5.7 billion.
Today, Artur Mas, Catalonia's president has warned Spain that "if
there is not an agreement on the economic bases," the "Catalonia's
way to freedom is open." Mas also stated that he "will push for
independence of Catalonia region if talks with Madrid on taxes
fail." And Catalans, who has been living between mixed sentiments
between Spain and Catalonia, agree with him regarding the necessity
to revised taxes balance deal.
"There is a very special atmosphere here in Barcelona. The city is
packed with people walking around with the independence flags,"
commented Yohay Elam from ForexCrunch.com.
"Regarding the euro, Catalans want to be in the EU and with the
euro - when there is a common European currency and open borders,
why pay taxes to Madrid," Elam points.
"That's part of the sentiment here. It's quite fascinating living
here at this time," Elam concludes.
On the other hand, Jamie Coleman gives a piece of free advice to
Mas, "If you leave Spain, don't join the euro, dude."
Mariano Rajoy commented on Monday in a TV interview that
"Independence is the last thing we need," while he was asking
Catalans to "set priorities, please." Rajoy will meet Artur Mas on
September 20th in a regions summit to check debt and set debt