De crisis over het onafhankelijkheidsstreven van Catalonië is mede veroorzaakt door het strenge bezuinigingsbeleid dat Spanje kreeg opgelegd door de EU na de ineenstorting van de banken, betoogt Yannis Varoufakis, voormalig minister van Financiën van Griekenland en oprichter van de beweging Democray in Europe (DiEM25)
The Catalan question has deep historical roots, as does nationalism more broadly. But would it have erupted the way it recently did had Europe not mishandled the eurozone crisis since 2010, imposing quasi-permanent stagnation on Spain and the rest of the European periphery while setting the stage for xenophobia and moral panic when refugees began crossing Europe’s external borders?
Varoufakis geeft als voorbeeld de vergeefse poging van de nieuwe burgemeester van Barcelona Ada Colau om de gevolgen van de financiëel-economische crisis voor de zwaarst getroffen inwoners te verzachten.
Among Colau’s commitments to the people of Barcelona was a local tax cut for small businesses and households, assistance to the poor, and the construction of housing for 15,000 refugees – a large share of the total number that Spain was meant to absorb from frontline states like Greece and Italy. All of this could be achieved while keeping the city’s books in the black, simply by reducing the municipal budget surplus.
Alas, Colau soon realized that she faced insurmountable obstacles. Spain’s central government, citing the state’s obligations to the EU’s austerity directives, had enacted legislation effectively banning any municipality from reducing its surplus. At the same time, the central government barred entry to the 15,000 refugees for whom Colau had built excellent housing facilities.
Progressive, anti-nationalist Catalans, like Colau, find themselves squeezed from both sides: the state’s authoritarian establishment, which uses the EU’s directives as a cover for its behavior, and a renaissance of radical parochialism, isolationism, and atavistic nativism. Both reflect the failure to fulfill the promise of shared, pan-European prosperity.
Varoufakis schrijft dat deze crisis Europa de kans biedt andere wegen in te slaan. Een ander financieel-economisch beleid en een beleid dat meer decentralisatie mogelijk maakt.
The Catalonia crisis is a strong hint from history that Europe needs to develop a new type of sovereignty, one that strengthens cities and regions, dissolves national particularism, and upholds democratic norms. The immediate beneficiaries would be Catalans, the people of Northern Ireland, and maybe the Scots (who would in this manner snatch an opportunity out of the jaws of Brexit). But the longer-term beneficiary of this new type of sovereignty would be Europe as a whole. Imagining a pan-European democracy is the prerequisite for imagining a Europe worth saving.