Ouest France is one of the Frane’s most cherished newspapers, with a popularity of 2.5 million daily readers.
It is an honour to help this notorious outlet report on the most topical subjects impacting Europe.
Our Global Head of Market Development, Jacques Reynaud, gladly agreed to be interviewed by the newspaper on an important subject: Catalonia’s declaration of independence from the rest of Spain.
A Basic Recap of Catalonia’s Independence
Before launching into the details of this interview, you may appreciate a quick recap of the matter at hand.
The prospect of Catalonia’s independence became likely following a messy referendum vote on the matter, which took place on October 1, 2017. By October 27, the separatist majority in the Catalan parliament declared independence.
With its own language, traditions, and a population about the size of Switzerland’s, Catalonia’s aspiration for independence may appear feasible.
Just one of the reasons behind this movement included economic motives. Catalonia transfers significantly more to the central Spanish government than it gets in return, thus the slogan “Madrid is robbing us”. However, let’s not forget that Catalonia owes the Spanish government €52bn.
Primary motives aside, the matter is a highly complex one. What’s more, the move entails severe repercussions for Catalonia’s businesses and the region alike.
This complexity is precisely why Ouest France invited Jacques to discuss the issue. Let’s have a look at some of the primary concerns.
Consequences and Concerns
“Our main concern is the possible impact on Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and European [businesses],” said Jacques.
The negative impact on businesses and the economy is likely to stem from the complexity of forging the separatism, and the repercussion of being a self-sustained region raising its own taxes.
After all, becoming fully independent isn’t as simple as declaring it to be so.
Arguably one of the biggest problems is surrounding the EU and currency. As an independent region, Catalonia will not be automatically a member of the EU. As explained by BBC news, it’s acceptance into the EU would be contingent on gaining the permission of all EU members, including Spain.
This impacts the local currency and economy, as Catalonia’s independence would automatically cause the region to drop out of the euro.
Being able to rejoin the eurozone is far from simple. Even if Catalonia does become accepted into the EU, being accepted into the eurozone is yet another matter. That would depend on meeting a certain criteria, and gaining the acceptance of a majority of eurozone countries.
As the uncertainty has hit home, more than 3,100 companies have moved their legal headquarters out of the region, including major banks Caixabank and Banco de Sabadell. State investment in Catalonia has also dropped. The draft national budget allocated 16% in 2003, compared with mere 9.5% in 2015.
“Sensible businesses all have a plan B in case of the geopolitical risk but we hope that we will never have to act on this,” said Jacques.
Keep The Discussion Going
We are grateful for the opportunity to discuss this issue through the wonderful medium that is Ouest France. By talking about the issue and its repercussions, we hope to generate awareness and help other businesses who have chosen Catalonia as their base.