As Europe’s economy collapses, a new brand of separatism is arising in Europe: Economic separatism. Ironically, a closer look indicates that these separatists will only be recapitulating the errors of their current arrangements — and should they win independence, it may profit them nothing.
Catalonia is probably the first place to start. It is Spain’s Ruhr, an industrial and economic powerhouse. Along with the Basque country, Catalonia is one of the engines which has kept Spain afloat and prosperous for many decades. It is now clamoring for independence from Spain. Thirty percent of Catalans recently protested in the streets of Barcelona, demanding separation from Madrid.
A central complaint among Catalans is that they are massively subsidizing the rest of Spain. They see the central Madrid government as a money pit where their taxes go and never return. They are tired of floating the rest of the country while their provincial bridges, roads, and physical plant go unmaintained. The Catalans want out.
The central government collects most taxation payments then redistributes them to Spain’s 17 self-governing regions, which run their own schools and hospitals. Each year Catalans say they pay 16 billion euros more in taxes than the regional government spends.
Overall, Catalonia is Spain’s richest region, but the drain amounts to more than $2,700 per individual per year.