Sanchez And Aragones Meet As Catalonia’s Finances Flounder

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. Image: La Moncloa

Sanchez and Aragones are meeting today in Madrid with the Catalan president ready to push for a fresh independence referendum and Sanchez attempting to frame the talks as economic.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will meet the President of Catalonia, Pere Aragones, in Madrid today, June 29,  their first official meeting since Sanchez took a political gamble earlier this month and pardoned nine Catalan separatist leaders who had been in jail since 2019.

“What was useful in the past was punishment and now what is useful is forgiveness,” Sanchez said on June 25 ahead of today’s highly anticipated meeting.

The talks, Sanchez said, are to open the way to meaningful dialogue and national economic rejuvenation. Aragones is likely to insist on pushing his pro-independence political agenda. However, Catalonia’s financial foundations are nowhere near as steady as they once were.

Catalonia is no longer the power engine of the Spanish economy. In 2018, Madrid overtook Catalonia as the largest economy of the autonomous regions. From October 2017 to the end of 2020, 3,341 companies changed their address from Catalonia to Madrid.

In the first nine months of 2017, 28 companies left Catalonia each month for Madrid but after the declaration of independence in October 2017, the exit grew to 86 companies per month.

In 2020, foreign investment in Catalonia fell by 22.7 per cent and by 0.8 per cent nationally, but in Madrid foreign investment grew by 23.6 per cent.

Catalonia’s debt is also concerning, the region is 79.1 billion euros in the red and its debt represents more than a quarter of the debts held by all the autonomous regions together.

To add insult to injury, Andalucia now has more self-employed workers than Catalonia. As of May 2021, Andalucia had 557,615 self-employed people compared with 556,945 in Catalonia.

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Written by

Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.


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