Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia: Separatist Tendencies in the Beginning of the 21st Century

744
DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-11-43-53

G. Filatov (georgefilatov@gmail.com), 
Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences, 32a, Leninskii Prosp., Moscow, 119334, Russian Federation 



Abstract

The article addresses the differences in separatist tendencies in Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia in the 21st century. Although Madrid granted wide autonomy to the regions after the fall of the dictatorship in 1975, it has not solved the problem of separatism. The most striking examples are Catalonia and the Basque Country. Both regions maintain a distinctive cultural and linguistic identity, have a long history of movements struggling for autonomy. However, statistics show that in the Basque Country separatist sentiment decreased in the 21st century, while in Catalonia the situation was the opposite, leading to a crisis in 2017. To explain these tendencies, two main factors are considered: the unwillingness of Madrid to expand the autonomy, and the impact of the economic crisis. An analysis of public opinion fluctuations shows that the refusal of the Spanish government to expand autonomy led to the strengthening of separatist sentiments in Catalonia. However, it had almost no effect in the Basque Country. An investigation of economic data, particularly of the unemployment level, demonstrates that the consequences of the crisis have been a decisive factor. Unemployment in Catalonia was only slightly lower than generally in Spain, whereas in the Basque Country it was the lowest. The difference was a result of the broad financial autonomy that the Basque Country achieved in the 1980s. In Galicia, preconditions for the emergence of separatist sentiments have been similar to those in Catalonia: an original culture, comparable damage from the economic crisis. Nevertheless, regionalist forces in Galicia do not enjoy such support: historically, regionalist movements have not been strong there and could not take advantage of the crisis to spread separatist ideas. 


Keywords

Spain, Catalonia, Basque Country, Galicia, separatism, nationalism, economic crisis, autonomy 


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For citation:
Filatov G. Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia: Separatist Tendencies in the Beginning of the 21st Century. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2018, vol. 62, No 11, pp. 43-53. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-11-43-53



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