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Why Catalonia cares about Scotland

Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 02:35

The Spanish region of Catalonia celebrates its national day. Joanna Partidge looks at the impact the Scotland vote could have on the region's bid to become independent.

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With Scotland's vote on its future just days away, calls for a similar independence referendum on the streets of Barcelona. Hundreds of thousands of Catalans gathered on the Spanish region's national day. Those in favour of independence are demanding the right to vote on splitting from Spain. The wealthy region has its own language, culture and regional government. Catalonia's independence movement is well-established but has grown significantly in the last decade, bolstered by Spain's economic crisis. Many believe the Spanish government in Madrid is just ignoring the issue. (SOUNDBITE) (Catalan) BARCELONA RESIDENT VICTOR PANYELLA, SAYING: "The excitement that Catalans have when asking for permission to vote could help Scotland. Many Catalans want to vote for independence, but in the end we just want to vote." (SOUNDBITE) (Catalan) BARCELONA RESIDENT INMA SERRAT, SAYING: "Spain has the same attitude as 300 years ago. The lack of respect, that sort of colonialism, centralism, those narrow minds that don't accept that people have their own language and their own history." (SOUNDBITE) (Catalan) BARCELONA RESIDENT MONTSERRAT, SAYING: " If we live in democracy we should be allowed to vote. It's a different matter if people vote "yes" or "no". Catalonia's government has some autonomy to act within Spain. It's called a referendum for November 9. The British government opposes Scottish independence but allowed a vote and says it will abide by the decision. But Madrid says the Catalan poll is illegal and cannot take place. The region's President Artur Mas promises it will go ahead, no matter what Scotland decides. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CATALAN PRESIDENT ARTUR MAS, SAYING: "There are European leaders that accept the referendum in Scotland but don't accept at the same level the referendum in Catalonia. And my question is: Is Catalonia a different nation? It is a different nation, but it is also a nation." While many Catalans believe the Scottish vote helps their case, Michael Leister from Commerzbank says each region is unique. SOUNDBITE (English) MICHAEL LEISTER, SENIOR RATES STRATEGIST, COMMERZBANK: "Using Scotland as a blueprint or as a template for other regions, not only Catalonia, when we think Belgium also has quite a noticeable separatist movement and this was quite a big discussion a couple of years ago, but we think again using Scotland as a template is not that straightforward given that it's a much different story when you are a euro country and facing different issues." Scotland may not long be the only part of Europe to vote on going it alone.

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Why Catalonia cares about Scotland

Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 02:35