Thursday, 10 December 2015

FDI in Catalonia Grows Fourfold Despite Independence Process

Catalan exports account for a quarter of Spanish foreign trade

Despite the ongoing process towards independence of Catalonia, foreign direct investment, or FDI, has grown almost fourfold, a survey by Catalan employer's association Foment del Treball shows.

According to this study, the process towards independence is proving to be no hindrance to economic growth in Catalonia, contradicting what the Spanish government and other unionist lobbies argue.

Foment del Treball yesterday presented its Economic Situation Report [PDF, in Catalan], which indicates positive data for the Catalan economy. Foreign investment in Catalonia grew almost fourfold during the first half of the year. Growth in Catalonia stood at 280%, the strongest increase recorded in the whole of Spain, which overall has grown by 73%. In absolute terms, investment over the first half of 2014 grew by €1.4 bn. The vast majority of foreign investment –88%– comes from OECD countries, with 65% coming from European Union member states.

In response to journalists' questions on the effect of the independence process on the economy, the authors of the Foment report said that investments are not decided overnight. As Foment Chairman Joaquim Gay de Montellà said a few days ago, it was not true that companies were fleeing, and any relocations that had occurred depended more on tax policy issues.

In fact, only last week Barcelona Chamber of Commerce chairman Miquel Valls denied that companies were leaving because of Catalan independence claims, although he admitted companies may be relocating due to taxes being higher in Catalonia than in other regions, precisely due to the Spanish government underfunding the Catalan administration.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Spain Threatens Catalans with Suspension of Self-Rule

Spain is no longer governed under rule of law –if it ever was– but is run under rule BY law

The government has once again brandished Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution which allows for the suspension of home-rule after hearing Catalonia's President Artur Mas was considering disobeying his possible disqualification for holding a mock referendum on independence on November 9 last year. 

In an interview on a local radio station, President Mas said "Before the state's NOs, there remain only two options: we either bow and kneel, or we stand strong."

Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catalá and Vice President Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría said last week that the government has the necessary weapons to enforce the law by applying Article 155 of the Constitution, along with a recent amendment to the Constitutional Court's statutes passed only with the ruling Popular Party votes– allowing the suspension of public officials who do not comply with the Court's rulings.

Both speak as if President Mas had committed a crime, which is in my view pressuring the judges. It should be remembered that the complaint brought against Mr. Mas, his then VP Joana Ortega and his Minister for Education Irene Rigau was ordered by Spain's Prime Minister Rajoy. The Attorney General overruled the prosecutors in Catalonia, who had not considered there was any wrongdoing in holding the mock referendum.

The ruling Popular Party government, along with the
Spanish establishment and the mass media they control, are doing their utmost to convince everybody that the referendum, the court case and the support received by the defendants, pressuring the judges and threatening their independence referring to the crowd that turned up outside the court when President Mas appeared before the judges last Thursday– all respond to a plan orchestrated by the evil Mr. Mas to stay in power at any price.

So, what is so terrible about what happened on November 9? Something called a participatory process, i.e. a civic, festive event where the people deposited non-official, non-binding ballots in non-official, non-binding
cardboard ballot boxes. It was in fact a demonstration in which participants were counted one by one: 2.3 million, 1.8 of them favour of independence. Many Catalans –and not just those who joined the crowd outside the court to lend their support to Mr. Mas, nor those who voted for him– are outraged to see how the Popular Party and the Spanish government are acting against the Catalans' elected representatives, arbitrarily and in a spirit of revenge for the utter defeat they have suffered in the last elections, resorting to all and any of the powers of the State –using the laws to impose themselves, refusing to listen to the people of Catalonia.