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The Europe that we will find

The most frequent threat of unionists consists of placing the Catalan Republic outside of the European Union, as our language and our voice, never well represented by their agents, already are due to the will of Spain. In this sense, it is a threat that is not very different from what we’ve known up to now, and as such, nothing that would be an unbearable hell if it came to pass. In fact, the European Union that we will find beyond 27-S, when we begin to untie moorings and think about our port of arrival, will be a half-finished project. Nowadays the European project can be found at a crossroads between three options: one written in English, which recommends undoing part of the road to European integration; a second penned in French, which proposes moving forward towards a greater political and financial integration; and a third written in German, which proposes tougher conditions to be a member of the club and the expulsion of wayward members (among which --it does not take much to imagine-- would be Spain: all that is necessary is a rise in interest rates and its colossal debt would become virtually unpayable).

This is the European concern with 27-S: How will Spain pay its debt-- which Rajoy has doubled- and not increase it by accumulating more deficit? Nobody is worried, evidently, about the viability of the Catalan economy; rather, it is the Spanish economy that concerns them. This will be the central element in the inevitable negotiations with foreign creditors, holders of Spanish financial instruments to the tune of two trillion euros and with power that was just made clear in the latest chapter of the Greek impasse. For all that Spanish pride would oppose it, foreign creditors will demand both an agreement with Catalonia and its continuity within the EU. In reality, even if we wanted to we could not stay in the "outer space" where Margallo wants us, free of debt and with our own currency that we could devaluate whenever necessary. So then, the question is not if we would stay in the European Union or not: the question is which EU we will have to help to shape.

The elections of 27-S will not close any doors at all, but rather will open the possibility of being in the EU with our own voice and language at the moment of shaping the road forward, a path probably quite different than what Spain would choose. As in 1714, Catalonia will be closer to the Austrian --today German-- position, and Spain to the French. In fact, not long ago the Spanish administration made public a plea for a federalist Europe that is very close to the French idea, according to which the European fiscal union would have to emulate the laws currently in place in Spain, with a mechanism for permanent north-to-south fiscal transfers. Germany rejects this type of mechanism, as does Catalonia, because such as system would perpetuate the imbalances --if not make them worse-- instead of correcting them. Nevertheless, Germans and Catalans have to understand that, to maintain the foreign surpluses that they enjoy so much someone else has to have a deficit, and this requires financing it.

We can only participate in the debate after achieving independence, and in this sense the unionist threat is, in reality, an opportunity. It could be a real threat for those --like Spain-- who have always received transfers from the EU and hope to continue receiving them. But not for those --like Catalonia-- who are net contributors. And it is from this status as net contributor that Catalonia can and must make its voice heard: not to stop being so, but to guarantee that its contribution will assure the construction of the Europe that we need. Because I continue to be convinced that European integration is necessary and that global challenges demand global institutions with the capacity to face them: migrations, wars and the injustices that they cause, climate change, economic globalization, tax havens... These are the challenges that demand a strong and united EU, with a foreign policy worthy of that name and a migration policy that is far from the shameful current situation.

The growing globalization demands strong global governments, and strong local governments as well. Conversely, intermediate states without the ability to add value are a hindrance. This is why unionists can’t find any arguments against the Catalan desire other than threats and the wall of a Constitution that, after all, they changed so ignominiously when foreign creditors demanded it.