What Does Catalonia's Pro-Independence Majority Vote Mean For Spain, And Europe

Tyler Durden's picture

Two immediate opinions on what yesterday's resounding pro-independence vote in Spain's Catalonia region means: a tactical one, with trading implications, from SocGen, and a strategic one, from European think tank Open Europe.

From SocGen:

WILL CATALONIA LEAVE SPAIN? As we head to press, just over half the votes are counted in Sunday's regional election in Catalonia and show 48 seats out of a total 135 will go to incumbent President Arthus Mas' CiU party, this is less than the 62 of 2010. The left-wing ERC, also a nationalist party, has 20 seats. With counting still on going, the results may still find a majority in favour of a referendum on independence, but for Catalonia to actually become independent requires agreement from all the other regions and it seems unlikely this would actually happen. Moreover, Catalonia would most likely have to reapply for EU membership (something that Spain would also have to approve). The election and the mood around it are, however, further indication of the general discontent that is becoming increasingly visible across Spain. For PM Rajoy, the risk is that he will find it increasingly difficult to secure austerity and structural reform. The regions are due to contribute half of the budget reduction in 2013.


MARKET ISSUES: The consensus is that Spain will request financial assistance in early 2013. This will see a first test of the ECB's OMT and should help bring about a significant reduction in Spain's funding costs. Whether this improves the economic outlook is another matter. The debt snowball is determined by the gap between interest rates and GDP growth. Our concern is now on the growth side.

And From Open Europe:

The Catalans Have Voted: For What Exactly?

It does not happen very often, but the final result of yesterday's Catalan elections was almost completely unpredicted by polling. Artur Mas (in the picture) and his centre-right Convergència i Unió (CiU) party were always going to win - and they did so. However, according to most opinion polls, Mas was, at worst, going to consolidate the 62 seats that his party currently holds in the Catalan parliament - but he failed to do so, and by a wide margin.

CiU only secured 50 seats - 18 short of the 68 needed to command an absolute majority. Needless to say, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's party has immediately described the result as a bofetada (a "slap in the face") to Artur Mas - claiming he has failed in his attempt to lead Catalonia towards independence.

So have the Catalans suddenly given up on independence? Not quite. The exploits of the left-wing independentist, anti-austerity and anti-monarchic Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC, Catalan Republican Left) won them 21 seats - eleven more than in the previous elections. Therefore, Mas could certainly try to push ahead with his plans for a referendum on Catalonia's independence with the support of ERC. 71 votes from a total of 135 seats in the Catalan parliament (without counting the smaller pro-independence parties) is not the "exceptional sovereignist majority" Mas hoped for - but is a majority nonetheless.

This is exactly what the Catalan President noted in his first remarks after the election results were made official yesterday night. He said,

Those who want to abort the [sovereignist] process should take into account that…the sum of political forces in favour of the [Catalans’] right to decide is very much a majority in the parliament.

However, CiU and ERC are hardly natural allies or the makings of a stable and durable coalition. In particular, the two parties clearly do not see eye-to-eye on the need for Catalonia to continue with fiscal consolidation. At this stage, it is difficult to predict how things will evolve within the next few weeks or months. But the following should be kept in mind:

  • Under the Spanish Constitution (see here, Article 149.1), any referendum needs to be authorised by the central government. During the electoral campaign, Artur Mas has repeatedly suggested that he would get around the problem by holding such a referendum within an 'alternative' legal framework - i.e. a new Catalan law which would provide for the necessary legal base. However, this would be unlikely to stop the Spanish central government from taking the referendum to the Constitutional Court to invalidate it.
  • Great uncertainty remains over how Catalonia would declare its independence in practice - not least because an amicable divorce seems to be out of the question for Rajoy and his cabinet. In any case, it would be wrong to see Catalan independence as a short-term prospect.
  • Finally, and most importantly, an independent Catalonia would find itself out of the EU. Many have argued that the EU would have a strong interest in letting Spain's economic powerhouse back in as quickly as possible. A fair point, but under the current EU Treaties, Catalonia's accession would need to be endorsed by all member states - including Spain. This is arguably the biggest stumbling block for Artur Mas's hope of making Catalonia "a normal nation in Europe". Crucially, previous opinion polls have showed that the prospect of continued EU membership would be a big factor in a hypothetical referendum on independence.

Everything else, at this stage, is far from clear - especially given that the new Catalan government is not yet in place, and forming one may not be the easiest of tasks.  

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
koaj's picture

the Catalonians are clearly racist

GetZeeGold's picture



Support a Catalonian......screw a bankster.

economics9698's picture

The United States needs to split up into the NE, Miami, Midwest, Alaska, Hawaii, and California.  There needs to be a separation between the collectivist and liberty.

GetZeeGold's picture



The producing farmlands just need to stop exporting.....hunger knocks you back to reality fairly quickly.

otto skorzeny's picture

hard to run them john deeres on only the tar sand oil you get from the canucks

FeralSerf's picture

Why would they need to run those Deeres if they stop exporting all that wheat?  A bigger problem would be how to make the payments on those Deeres.

JonNadler's picture

it means Barca won't be in Espana any more? Como ? a l aguerra!

Josephine29's picture

As well as the political problems for Spain the economic ones are continuing to mount too. Take a look at how her mortgage market has declined.

Also we see that in volume or quantity terms we are still seeing very large year on year falls in mortgage lending. Indeed we can see the scale of the problem by looking at mortgage lending for dwellings over the past few Septembers in reverse order from 2012 going back to 2007.

2.17 billion Euros; 3.45 billion Euros; 6.35 billion Euros; 7.37 billion Euros; 8.9 billion Euros and 15.4 billion Euros

Whilst the 15.4 billion lending figure in September 2007 was a product of the boom and accordingly in itself cannot be used as a benchmark we see that we have veered to the other extreme now. Compared to the same month in September 2007 we see that mortgage lending for dwellings in September 2012 was 14% of the total then


CheapBastard's picture

No worries, Josephine. Rumor has it that 'The Aliens' will rush in and buy all the empty houses with their foreign money just as in LA. Or Madrid's large banker/investor companies will buy all of the boxes, become landlords and rent them out to the Hoi Poloi.



THE DORK OF CORK's picture

I see the flag of the evil eye with the Catalan flag in that picture.

The Euro market state has been working to break up the nation state since at least 1986 and the single european act with numerous regional funds..........


You make a pact with the devil.....................

The Euro group eats small nations with no national currency for breakfast.


Scotland & Catalonia beware.

When Ireland lost the last bits of its internal redundancy they cut the legs from under it.

GCT's picture

Spot on Dork.  But Catalonia wants access to more money and will gladly become part of the EU if they do leave Spain.  I do not think they will though.

economics9698's picture
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/_me...);" height="25" valign="top">

Dork, look at this list of richest countries, what stands out?

How many on the list are large countries?

The people of the world know they can do better, live better, live free, with smaller countries.  The only thing standing in the way is a banking cartel and fiat money.  When the money changes the world changes, for the better.

  RANK COUNTRY GDP - PER CAPITA (PPP) DATE OF INFORMATION 1 Qatar $ 98,900 2011 est. 2 Liechtenstein $ 89,400 2009 est. 3 Luxembourg $ 80,600 2011 est. 4 Bermuda $ 69,900 2004 est. 5 Singapore $ 59,700 2011 est. 6 Jersey $ 57,000 2005 est. 7 Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) $ 55,400 2002 est. 8 Norway $ 53,400 2011 est. 9 Brunei $ 49,500 2011 est. 10 Hong Kong $ 49,400 2011 est. 11 United States $ 48,300 2011 est. 12 United Arab Emirates $ 47,700 2011 est. 13 Guernsey $ 44,600 2005 14 Switzerland $ 44,500 2011 est. 15 Cayman Islands $ 43,800 2004 est. 16 Gibraltar $ 43,000 2006 est. 17 Netherlands $ 42,000 2011 est. 18 Kuwait $ 41,700 2011 est.

Terminus C's picture

Four of the top five of those small countries... doing better on their own are banker countries...

Live free?  Yea, the banksters are living free in those places.  At least nine of the 18 are tax shelter/banking centers. 

economics9698's picture

Exactly, so the way for less developed poorer countries to live better is to break up the monopoly and vote with their gold coins for independence.  

Why are there central banking centers? 

So a few bankers can print the medium of exchange and distribute it to their friends.

So why allow them to do it?  The power to break away from the bankers is as simple as allowing banks to issue currency. 

It’s that simple.  And it’s over for the banksters. 

Break the monopoly up by letting private banks issues currency backed by gold or silver.  

When that happens the banking cartels will no longer have any power or influence over peoples lives.  The people with the gold coins hold the power. 

Small countries CAN break away and it is so easy millions will wonder why they did not do it earlier. 



holdingontomypants's picture

What does a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk cost? This doesn't give a clear picture on just income alone if you don't know how the expenses compare. Just saying.

Ghordius's picture

"The Euro group eats small nations with no national currency for breakfast"

Not so sure about that - particularly during a currency "skirmish".

Please kindly have a look at the existing currencies belonging to small european nations, for example Danemark (EU) and Switzerland (not EU). Note the peg (floor) to the EUR.

The nation state is "under attack" - including by lots of people that like to use the word "statist" as favourite slur - mainly by the power of the transnational MegaCorps and it's epitomes the MegaBanks.

But the EU is still a club of this "endangered species", a kind of nation's syndicate.

Just trying to be factual, here.

GetZeeGold's picture



including by lots of people that like to use the word "statist"


Timmy...don't make fun of the naked Emperor. It's not polite.

Ghordius's picture

well, IMHO most states/nations are not broke, or at least not at levels not seen thirty years ago. and they usually do survive inflation and hyperinflation (it's just seriously shitty for the citizens). Zimbabwe is still there, for example

financially, I see the probs in the banking systems, still unsolved, including HFT and the derivatives/shadow banking scam

Dork sees the "nations under attack". Well, here on ZH we have quite good commentators of the libertarian/anarchic persuasion constantly attacking the concepts of nation & state. I'm not "in" but I sympathize

the "naked emperor" is the commercial/market/banking empire based on AngloAmerican military control of key resources and credit allocation oligopolies around the FED. but I wonder how many here would not suddently miss it if he would fail earlier than expected

GetZeeGold's picture



well, IMHO most states/nations are not broke,


When you can loan money to yourself......you're never broke.

Ghordius's picture

see Japan. since how long? it will end, someday, but you could grow quite old, waiting

in 1968 the US could exchange/cover every million bucks outside it's borders by a metric ton of gold (the official price, then)

since 1971 we know that Tricky Dick's sleight of hand would end, someday

the question is when, tomorrow or in twenty years? or make them thirty

GetZeeGold's picture



see Japan. since how long?


Is that anyplace close to Wiemar Germany?


I like to ignore history....mainly cause it's just too scary to look at.

THE DORK OF CORK's picture


That has not been my experience.

I remember when the political geography syllabus changed from the study of nation state systems with clear defined borders to a Europe of the regions.

This was in a time when Ireland was in the first full flush of Euro rapture.


The euro is the great enabler of the market state.

It has destroyed all of the internal systems of a nation that give it some redundancy from outside shocks.


I keep saying Ireland no longer exists as a political or cultural entity.

Its population has become atomised.

This was of course offical policey.

Ghordius's picture

the "atomisation" you are referring to is a cultural phenomenon, very strong in the English-speaking world and spreading into others, slowly

it's the result of a long campaign by many "strange bedfellows", including feminists, libertarians, socialists, oligarchs and so on, all preaching the "sovereignty of the individual" that can bloom if sheltered by "something above"

who profits? well, before you answer, who loses? the family, the "tribes" (as parts of nations) and societies at large

so back to the "profiteers": small corporations? sure not. so who is left? all the MegaCorporations - and no, it's not even their shareholders, it's their managements (think Corzine)


the Irish EuroRapture has been concocted by an incredible credit expansion. but if you dig, you'll see that MegaBanks were behind them, particularly British-based ones

Remember AngloIrish? That costed a doubling of the bloody Irish national debt?


No, all this propaganda against the EUR and the EU is usually laced with undertones against nation-state's power, and particularly against some of the nation state's responses against this current drama, be them taxes or austerity or balanced budgets or Tobin Taxes or - OMG! a ban against the derivatives and the shadow banking conduits that were already banned before by previous generations


note that I usually defend the EU's confederative setup against all those "undemocratic/unelected" attacks. why? because it's concept is as a club of sovereign nations. it's not perfect, but it's better than all the other systems in this environment

THE DORK OF CORK's picture


Well I regard the euro as a City of London invention or at least the Hanavorian factions special experiment.

England  , the Uk and the city are all slightly different but joined at the hip constructions.

Its quite obvious that all former nations within Europe need to print domestic currency.


The false Gaullist meme of attacking the $ was a necessary illusion to carry some local political factions.



Why did Londons Big bang and its credit hyperinflation happen in the same year of the single european act. (1986)

Spain became fully captured the year after.

Europe is now a disaster zone



Ghordius's picture

history tells otherwise. the City of London hated and still hates the EUR concept. (most) English still hate the EUR. beyond any rationality

and deep down, they know that it's a response to the AngloAmerican currency/gold/credit cartel and so against the current interests

the City of London MegaBanks just want to make the quick squid out of it, for example by flushing Ireland with credit


remember one thing: the EUR is currently showing the ugly side of a common currency - last seen when gold was the common currency

do you really think Ireland would be better off by a devaluation by half of it's own national currency?

the same pain would have just hit a different part of the same society, at a different speed

the "evil" was the credit expansion boom - regardless from it's denomination

THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Ireland post 1980  /1986 is a story of 2 economies although we had tax arbitrage operations going since 1957 in Shannon.

In the 1970s we were the beneficary of wage deflation in the core with Verolme dockyard for example a major employer much like how Turkey is gaining work today.

We also had fiscal flows in the 70s that the Brits would never dream of giving us.

But we remained in a integrated monetary system of Sterling............so we had the best of both worlds. (inflation but wage inflation also)

Indeed the 1970s can now be looked back as the "golden years" of the Irish econony.


After 1986 the former GPA (london boys) and Ryanair crowd gained ground now to the point of absurdity.


Now the remaining tiny rump domestic economy needs more units of a devalued currency.

Whats happening in Ireland and indeed in rural France is a small amount of highly valued euro reserve currency and little local currency to sustain domestic internal commerce...........the euro works to export capital out of these former nation states.



If you remember that Southern French rural , inter village train line that I was talking about earlier in the year (they closed the line in July)
Well the bus route is now suspended…………..


I really can’t see much wrong with the domestic French economy other then a very serious lack of Francs.

People must get into their cars to do their weekly business in Arles now.

Why ? not enough units of token money in circulation that prevents capital (oil) export.

The Euro is the most anti labour monetary construction that  can be imagined.

It prefers to burn through mountains of capital (oil) rather then employ a bus driver.




Acet's picture

I'll attest to the English hate of the EUR - just go into the forums at the BBC website and you'll see it. In fact, go further out in to the likes of the Daily Mail comments section and there's a lot of anti-EU talk.

Personally I think it's the result of decades of propaganda by Murdoch-owned newspapers and the like, to the point that are tons of outrageous, fake stories published in newspapers like the Sun and the Daily Mail about how the EU regulates the dumbest of things (my special favorite is the one about the EU regulating the curvature of bananas). Schooling in the UK is not exactly high-quality and the average Brit has little or no training in thinking for him- or herself. Also this society infantilizes adults in many, many ways (I just had an interesting conversation about this during lunch with a Russian friend).

As for Ireland, given that the vast majority of Banks which would go kaboom if the Irish refused to pay the debts incurred by the Irish-banker-class are British banks, I would point at the City of London first before I pointed at the EU. Then again, the blame lies mostly with the Irish themselves for, when push came to shove, not having had the balls to refuse to pay the banks' debts. This was not at all the impression I used to have of the Irish. Maybe the press and schooling in the Republic of Ireland apes the rest of the British Isles and is heavy on making infantilised adults who feel powerless and have to relly on authority!?

THE DORK OF CORK's picture


I hate to say this  , but the veiws of Saxons don't matter - not since 1066.

I was talking about what went on in London during the 70s and 80s to make the euro into what it is today.


The big bangers destroyed what remained of British primary and secondary industry in the early 80s ...........but why ?

It was to run the then surplus North sea oil through the PIigs domestic energy systems and earn a return on the grot production.

(After 1984 the UK went into current account deficit)


You can clearly see this if you look at UK energy balance sheets vs Irish & Spanish energy balance sheets post 1987.

TooBearish's picture

With all due respect Ty- NWO will not tolerate any resistance to unification of the debt slaves of Spain with the rest of Europe- expect a no-fly zone to be introduced around any rebel "states" in Europe and the US for that matter.


Non Passaran's picture

Did you actually read TFA?
They could (for now just in theory) exit Spain and remain in the EU.

GetZeeGold's picture



Nothing. Because nothing will come of it.


They don't have the nuts for it......just like Iceland.

Die Weiße Rose's picture
Italy's Mason-Dixon Line Euro Crisis Fuels South Tyrolean Separatist Dreams

The region of South Tyrol in northern Italy would like autonomy.

Many in northern Italy have long wanted to secede. Now, the euro crisis is giving the separatist movement new momentum, with the rich north unwilling to pony up for the poor south.

Prime Minister Monti's efforts to exert control may be making matters worse.


I never thought I'd say this -

but I really don't care anymore


booboo's picture

"Needless to say, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's party has immediately described the result as a bofetada (a "slap in the face") to Artur Mas - claiming he has failed in his attempt to lead Catalonia towards independence."

Rajoy's butt weasles poking their head out long enough to add some spin on a obvious victory for gaining independence. It's called a process for a reason. Though I am not educated enough to understand the big picture and what lies ahead I do know that when a so called "free state" fucks freedom up so bad (only a government could pull this off) that large swaths of it's people want to get away from what ever "freedom" has been defined by the state, I would say go for it.

We cheered when the Soviet Union broke up, tell me, what is the difference?

Monedas's picture

The PIGS will be diminished by their leaving ! SARC ON/off

Disenchanted's picture




Voting will continue until the desired result is achieved...

GetZeeGold's picture



How bad is it when you wake up to find Pravda laughing at you. As far as I'm concerned the teacher's union doesn't have a right to ask for a damn thing anymore.


From Drudge....

PRAVDA: Obama 're-elected by illiterate society'...

Terminus C's picture

There is a certain irony in this comment.  Your simplistic scapegoating of teachers suggests your own illiteracy.

I'll ask you one question:

Who's responsibility is it to educate children?

GetZeeGold's picture



Their parents.....and some are starting to do it.


They just gave the workers at Pravda the day off....they've got the headlines for tomorrow already planned.

psychobilly's picture

"Your simplistic scapegoating of teachers suggests your own illiteracy.

"I'll ask you one question:

"Who's [sic] responsibility is it to educate children?"

Thanks for the laugh.

Seer's picture

Got money? Check!

Got land?  Oh, wait!...

This is all to be expected.

The rich have been doing it for a LONG time:



DanDaley's picture

At Seer - OT Hey, Seer, a few days ago you were talking about Wendell Berry...well you piqued my curiosity and I started reading about him...turns out he went to my high school in Kentucky, about 10 years before me...pretty crazy.  Now I suppose I'll have to read his stuff just because. I hate reading.

DanDaley's picture

Free Cantalope!...I mean, Catalonia!

lolmao500's picture

And a geopolitical one, Europe going kaboom when Spain goes down, civil war/war against Catalonia if they try to secede.

All very bullish for chaos.

magpie's picture

Never go full Visigoth

Monedas's picture

Catalonians are Germans who speak Spanish and think they're English !

francis_sawyer's picture

Dream State:

- Women are Scandinavian Models

- Cars are German

- Food is Italian

- Bankers are in Jail

Nightmare State:

- Women are Balkan

- Cars are French

- Food is British

- Bankers are Jews

GetZeeGold's picture



It's all in the marketing really. Got to sell that crappy stuff to someone.

Acet's picture

I actually know a Swedish Model. "Women as Scandinavian Models" is only in the dream state if you like women with strong characters.

(I personally do, but others don't)


DanDaley's picture

Dream State -Cops are British


Nightmare -Cops are German