What would change if Catalonia declared independence from Spain?

The Local Spain
The Local Spain - [email protected]
What would change if Catalonia declared independence from Spain?
Photo: SBA73/Flickr

Many Catalans are fighting hard for the right to decide on whether to split from the rest of Spain. But what would an independent Catalonia actually look like? The Local gazes into the crystal ball.



Catalonia faces several options here. It could take on a new currency, revert to the peseta, originally derived from the Catalan peça anyway, or sign an accord with the EU which will let them stick with the Euro — the preferred option of the Catalan government’s National Transition Advisory Council. 


Photo: Josep Lago/AFP

On the international level, a Catalonia team would be a serious heavyweight and clashes with neighbours Spain spectacular. At the club level though, things could get mind-numbingly dull with Barcelona winning year in year out. The head of Spain's football league said that if Spain splits, Barcelona and across city rivals Espanyol will have to leave La Liga.

Javier Tebas tweeted: "If Spain splits, so does La Liga. Let's hope we never reach that absurd situation." 


Catalonia's current regional 'senyera' flag with its yellow and red horizontal stripes is very elegant, while nothing says independence more than the 'estelada' with its single star. But a split from the rest of Spain is a chance for Catalonia to do something really different, while keeping to the same Aragon-inflected colour scheme. Most countries settle for rectangles or squares, but why not be bold like Nepal and try out a different shape altogether?


Photo: Teresa Grau Ros/Flickr

Adiós Castellano, Benvinguts Catalan. Languages are key to forming national identity (Czech and Slovak anyone?). An independent Catalonia would most likely pump plenty of money into shoring up the place of Catalan as the number one national language, in schools, in institutions, and on the streets. An already vital Catalan-language culture could become even stronger but people’s Castellano skills might suffer as a result, making Catalonia less bilingual than it already is.


Catalonia's gross domestic product in 2014 was €200 billion, the highest of all of Spain's autonomous communities. Its GDP per capita was €28,181 in 2014, the regional stats authority said. That would make an independent Catalonia one of Europe's wealthiest countries, with a per capital GDP just shy of that of the UK or France. In Spain in 2014, by comparison, the figure was €22,800. 

Independence fever 

Photo: debjam/Flickr

Independence could be catching. If Catalonia did split from the rest of Spain, there might be a domino effect with the Basques and Galicians  - who already have strong independent movements of their own - following hot on its heels. And if Catalonia proves a success story, envious Catalan-speaking territories like the Balearic Islands and Valencia might want to join up with their larger neighbour.

Dual nationality

Pro-independence leaders insist that should Catalonia secede, Catalans would be able to hold double Spanish-Catalan nationality as the constitution guarantees that no Spanish natives can have their nationality withdrawn. But Spanish Foreign Minsiter, José Manuel García Margallo, in the run up to the election, warned Catalans they would "lose Spanish nationality if the region secedes from Spain. 

The blame game

Archive photo: Shutterstock

One of the advantages Catalan leaders currently enjoy is they can blame Spain's central government in Madrid for many of the region's ills. If Catalonia were split from the rest of Spain, however, they might have to direct their frustration inwards, a potentially damaging scenario. But luckily for Catalonia, Spain is likely to continue to play the role of the bullying brother, making life difficult for their smaller neighbour.


Photo: AFP

If Catalonia becomes independent, it will achieve what many Spaniards would also like to see: the new country would be a republic. Chances are though, that Spain's glamorous king and queen would continue to be fodder for Catalan television shows, gossip magazines and tabloid newspapers.

Army, navy and diplomatic service

Catalan leaders have already made plans to establish the region’s own diplomatic service, central bank, tax authority  - and possibly even its armed forces. "All that will have to be designed by the future government in the next 18 months,” revealed Artur Mas in a recent interview with the Financial Times.



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also