Destinations Magazine

Breaking up is Hard to Do

By Stizzard
Breaking up is hard to do

BENIGNO ROMERO, a Catalan taxi driver, reached coyly into his pocket and produced a key-ring bearing the horizontal gold-and-red striped flag of Spain. “I respect everyone else’s opinion. But if we get independence our pensions will go and this will be like Venezuela,” he said. Mr Romero’s worries reflect an increasingly bitter debate in this wealthy corner of north-east Spain as it prepares for elections that could bring a unilateral declaration of independence within 18 months.

Catalonia’s president, Artur Mas, has proclaimed regional elections on September 27th to be a plebiscite on independence. His centre-right Catalan Democratic Convergence party has teamed up with Catalan Republican Left and grass-roots separatists to present a joint list of candidates. If these, together with radicals from the Popular Unity Candidacy, win a majority of seats, they threaten to declare independence in spring 2017, setting up a dramatic confrontation for which neither Spain nor the European Union is prepared. While negotiations might prevent that happening, separatists seem unlikely to settle for anything less than a proper referendum—which the…

The Economist: Europe

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