Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Friday, 7 may 2010 | Financial Times

In Praise of the Financial Times Report on Catalonia

We would like to praise the FT for its constructive report on Catalonia as a place for business ("Doing Business in Catalonia"). We especially welcome the fact that some frequent misconceptions are duly noted and then quickly put to rest. For instance, the notion that the use of the Catalan language and the system of self-government are obstacles for the conduct of business is cogently proven wrong. The autonomic system has indeed added a layer of bureaucracy to an inflated and historically ineffectual central government. However, one shouldn’t put in the same class communities like Extremadura, for example, where civil servants account for almost 24% of the working population, and Catalonia, where the corresponding figure is 8.8%, well below the Spanish average (13.3%).


On the other hand, we would view with some scepticism the conclusions drawn from the IESE study, namely the negative effects of “excessive autonomy” or eventual independence from Spain on trade relations with other peninsular regions. The example taken from that study, comparing exchanges with Valencia and with France, can be misleading. Figures from 2007 indicate that trade with Spain amounted to 31% of the total (down from 41% in 1995), while exports represented 34% (up from 23% in 1995). If other Catalan-speaking areas (namely, Valencia and the Balearic islands) are excluded, trade with Spain falls to only 25% of the total. This trend towards stronger internationalization of the economy and lower dependence on the Spanish markets is expected to continue. Also, Spain today buys Catalan goods because of their quality and competitiveness, not because of any special privilege derived from belonging to the same political structure, so it can’t be assumed that the Spanish market would be lost altogether in the event of a peaceful separation. But even if it were so, being spared the “cost of dependence”, namely the very large amounts extracted from Catalonia’s economy by the Spanish state (roughly 20 billion euros every year, or 10% of the Catalan GDP), would far outweigh any possible losses in trade.


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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Col·lectiu Emma is a network of Catalans and non-Catalans living in different countries who have made it their job to track and review news reports about Catalonia in the international media. Our goal is to ensure that the world's public opinion gets a fair picture of the country's reality today and in history.

We aim to be recognized as a trustworthy source of information and ideas about Catalonia from a Catalan point of view.
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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia