Experts suggest increasing cooperation between an independent Catalonia and Spain
The Catalan Government’s Advisory Council for the National Transition (CATN), formed of renowned independent experts, emphasised that Catalonia’s independence from Spain would not represent breaking their affective and historical bounds. Furthermore, they insisted on the need to continue and even to increase cooperation “based on a new principle of equality and mutual respect between both parties”. They have suggested different ways to cooperate, through different structures. For instance, they proposed the creation of the ‘Iberian Council’ bringing together Catalonia and Spain, as well as Portugal and Andorra if they wished to, which would mirror the Nordic Council or the Benelux. Furthermore, the CATN issued three other reports, including a detailed analysis of Catalonia’s tax agency.
Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan Government’s Advisory Council for the National Transition (CATN), formed of renowned independent experts, presented this Friday 4 reports in order to shed light on Catalonia’s potential independence from Spain and the project for the following days. The CATN emphasised once again that Catalonia’s independence from Spain would not represent breaking their affective and historical bounds, neither is the independence movement driven by a will to break ties and isolate the two nations. On the contrary, the Catalan Government’s advisors are insisting on the need to continue and even to increase cooperation “based on a new principle of equality and mutual respect between both parties”, stated Carles Viver i Pi-Sunyer, Chairman of the CATN and former Member of the Spanish Constitutional Court (1992-2001). The CATN have suggested different ways to cooperate, through different structures. For instance, they proposed the creation of the ‘Iberian Council’, which would bring together Catalonia and Spain, as well as Portugal and Andorra, if they wished to. It would mirror the Nordic Council or the Benelux, which channel different cooperation mechanisms in several policy areas among neighbouring independent countries.
Furthermore, the CATN issued three other reports, including a detailed analysis of Catalonia’s tax agency and fiscal structures. An independent Catalonia would generate between €40 billion and €100 billion in taxes, depending on the fiscal pressure. In addition, an effective tax agency of an independent Catalonia should dispose of between 7,000 and 8,000 employees and an operational budget of €400 million. Besides, the CATN also recommends explaining Catalonia’s independence claims at international level, by strengthening the Catalan Government’s structure in this area. To better explain Catalonia’s self-determination, they recommend highlighting the democratic nature of the process, the right to self-determination of nations and the ‘last option’ aspect of the process, after Spain had failed to form a comfortable plurinational State despite the manifold attempts by Catalan society.
This Friday, the Advisory Council for the National Transition (CATN), which analyses the road to Catalonia’s self-determination and how to build a hypothetical independent Catalonia, presented four reports on several issues. The most important one was entitled ‘Cooperation relations between Catalonia and the Spanish State’.
Catalonia’s independence is not against Spain; on the contrary it can increase cooperation
The CATN Chairman emphasised: “the process that might bring Catalonia to become an independent state should be a great opportunity to set up close and constructive relations between Catalonia and Spain, possibly closer and more constructive than the current ones”. In fact, Viver i Pi-Sunyer, who also holds a chair of Constitutional Law at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, absolutely rejected the idea that Catalonia’s independence project has the objective “to break up or isolate itself” from Spain. On the contrary, he stressed that Catalonia and Spain share many “affective, historical and economic bounds”, at “individual and collective level”. He stated that “these personal and collective relations are not broken in an immediate way; they cannot be broken” he said.
According to the Catalan Government’s advisors, these bounds should be strengthened. “It is about improving the quality of those relations, making them based on a new principle of equality and mutual respect between both parties”, he said, between two independent and sovereign states. Viver i Pi-Sunyer underlined that the idea of increasing cooperation is a “very powerful one inside Catalonia but also outside of it”.
An ‘Iberian Council’ similar to the Nordic Council or the Benelux
In order to structure, improve and increase this cooperation between the two independent states, the CATN proposes several possible ways of doing so, mirroring existing formulas around the world. Firstly they talk about creating a general body of cooperation, analysing the case of the Nordic Council and the Benelux. In Catalonia’s case, a similar structure would be the creation of an ‘Iberian Council’, which should bring together Catalonia and Spain, but also Portugal and Andorra, if they accepted. An alternative would be the creation of a Catalano-Spanish Council.
FC Barcelona and Espanyol could play in the Spanish League
Furthermore, there should also be cooperation tools in specific sectors and policy areas, such as energy, water resources, ground transportation, environment, healthcare and commerce. The CATN also identified more sensitive areas to cooperate, such as radio and TV broadcasting, socio-economic organisations and sport competitions. The CATN stated that FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol could continue participating in the Spanish League if both parties agreed on it, since they are private organisations. The report mentioned similar cases, such as the Monaco team playing in the French League, Swansea and Cardiff teams playing in the English League and the Toronto Raptors playing in the NBA.
An independent Catalonia to collect between €40 and €100 billion in taxes
The more detailed report presented this Friday was the one entitled ‘Tax Administration in Catalonia’, in which the CATN analysed how to build an independent tax agency in charge of collecting all the taxes generated in Catalonia. Regarding the amount of taxes that could be collected, the figures significantly change depending on different scenarios and fiscal pressures. For instance, considering 20% of Spain’s global tax collection (Catalonia represents 19% of Spain’s GDP), between €40 and €50 billion would be collected each year. Taking into account Spain’s average fiscal pressure and Catalonia’s GDP, €70 billion would be generated. Using the same formula but taking into account the European Union’s fiscal pressure average, €80 billion would be collected. Finally, if Catalonia had a fiscal pressure similar to Nordic countries, €100 billion in taxes would be generated.
A tax agency with some 7,000-8,000 employees
In order to collect all these taxes, Catalonia should have its own tax agency, whose embryo was announced a year ago. This independent body should have an operational budget of €400 million and between 7,000 and 8,000 employees, following the European Union recommendations (1,000 workers for each million inhabitants). Currently, the Spanish Tax Agency and the limited Catalan tax administration have 5,000 employees between them.