• Anasagasti: “Pujol destrossat, però el rei encimbellat”

     El Singular.cat

    29/07/2014
    per Lluís Bou
    “Tots els que legítimament i amb raó critiquen Pujol, perden autoritat moral per fer-ho si no fan el mateix amb Joan Carles I”, afirma el senador del PNB
    El senador del PNB Iñaki Anasagasti ha denunciat avui que existeix una doble vara de medir respecte a l’expresident Jordi Pujol i al rei Joan Carles I. Al seu entendre a Pujol se l’ha “destrossat” i al monarca espanyol se l’ha “encimbellat” fins al punt que representarà el govern espanyol en la presa de possessió de Juan Manuel Santos el 7 d’agost com a president de Colòmbia.

    “El rei aquí segueix amagat i amb tots els honors quan es nega a donar compte del patrimoni acumulat en aquests quaranta anys. Intocable i impune. Pujol, tocable i no impune, sobretot per als qui el volen destrossar personalment i en la seva obra. El rei, aforat i intocable.
    “Per això és bo recordar el que va passar l’any passat quan es van trobar comptes [de Joan Carles I] a Suïssa, herències no declarades i opacitats diverses. La justícia no va actuar. L’agència tributària no va actuar. Les Corts no van actuar perquè no se’ns va deixar preguntar res sobre aquest assumpte. La premsa va deixar estar el cas”.
    “Se sospita que el compte a Andorra de Pujol no només procedeix d’una herència del seu pare sinó ha estat alimentat aquests anys. Tant de bo s’investigui i s’arribi al fons de la qüestió. Però, d’on neix el riquíssim patrimoni del rei valorat en gairebé 2.000 milions d’euros com va relatar el New York Times?“.

    “Molt malament el que ha fet Pujol, però, ¿i el rei que prepara el seu viatge a Colòmbia per representar al govern en la presa de possessió de Santos? Per què aquesta doble vara de mesurar?”, es pregunta Anasagasti en un article al seu blog.

    Segons Anasagasti, tots els que legítimament crítiquen ara a Jordi Pujol, perden tota legitimitat moral si no fan el mateix amb Joan Carles I.

  • The World’s next nations, by Boston Globe

    THE INTERNATIONALIST

    The world’s next nations: a brief guide

    After Scotland, here’s who’s voting on independence next

    By Thanassis Cambanis

    | GLOBE CORRESPONDENT   JULY 27, 2014

     

    Surveying our violent and sometimes weird world, it might seem that things change only for the worse. Tensions between Moscow and Washington, with ripple effects across the globe? Check. Iranian ayatollahs fulminating against the Satanic West? Check. Israel and Palestine at war again? Check.

    But one historically bloody rite of passage seems to have gotten a lot easier of late: the birth of a nation.

    Lately, however, the world has seen some surprisingly smooth independence movements in which the path to statehood has been achieved through voting, not battle. The latest candidate for the new nations club is another British territory: Scotland.

    On Sept. 18, Scots will vote whether to withdraw from their union with Britain. Like their 18th-century counterparts in the American Colonies, if they declare independence they will remove bountiful riches from London’s control, in this case probably most of the North Sea oil fields. But in a sign of changing times, the United Kingdom is only striking against the secessionists with words. Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to accept the referendum results.

    A lot has to go right for an independence vote to take place, and to be honored. A “parent” nation has to be confident enough—or scarred enough by civil infighting—to let go willingly. A breakaway republic needs the resources to survive and prosper on its own. And a stable region helps: South Sudan, the world’s newest country (see sidebar), has already fallen back into the violence that characterized its existence as a persecuted region under the control of Khartoum.

    Scotland’s coming vote might be getting all the attention, but there are other countries with independence referendums in the offing. Some are more likely to work out than others; if they do, the world could see a handful of new flags, and also new challenges. Here’s a tour of the new nations you just might be able to visit soon.

    Scotland

     

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    If it votes for independence on Sept. 18, Scotland will become the newest entrant to the European Union. It’s already a popular tourist destination and an economic powerhouse. If current political trends continue, an independent Scotland will form a leftist, socialist counterpart to a more right-wing England. The Scots have proven more committed to national health care and labor rights than Britain under Conservative rule. Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival has been an alternative cultural mainstay for decades, and Glasgow served as Europe’s Cultural Capital in 1990.

    Will it change much? Maybe Scotland will be forced to abandon the pound sterling after three centuries, but an independent Scotland probably won’t look that different. It’s unlikely to sever its relationship to the United Kingdom entirely, like Ireland did. It probably will maintain formal allegiance to the queen, like other former British territories including Australia and Canada. And its economy will remain intertwined with that of England, with whom it will continue to share a common language and island.

     

    Catalonia

     

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    The region of Spain that gave us Gaudi, Barcelona, and George Orwell’s best work of reportage has often been an economic basket case, but it’s undeniably beautiful region with an undeniable sense of separate identity. People there proudly speak Catalan, a Romance language as different from Spanish as Portuguese or French, and many refuse to identify as Spanish. Separatist parties won the Catalan regional elections in 2012 and promised to hold an independence vote, now scheduled for Nov. 9.2014

    It’s unclear whether Catalonia could prosper independently; Spain, overall, isn’t doing so well itself. The region has its own manufacturing and finance base, and it remains a popular tourist destination. Unshackled from Spain, Catalonia would be likely to even more boldly embrace its linguistic differences and the region’s more populist politics. Visitors already in thrall to the delicious cuisine, with its famous mixing of pork and seafood, and eclectic architecture, will be able to bask in a romantic storyline of a persistent, stubborn, and maybe even ill-conceived commitment to national independence.

    If it votes “yes,” Catalonia’s path forward won’t be smooth: The Spanish government says it won’t honor an independence referendum. Barcelona, the would-be capital, will have to negotiate gingerly with Madrid—which has promised to block the EU membership of not only Catalonia, but also Scotland, for fear of setting a precedent. Catalan leaders are already considering how to go around Spain and appeal for recognition from foreign countries and the United Nations.

    If they both dig in, expect a long and strange standoff, but a diplomatic one: It’s almost impossible to imagine contemporary Spain going to war to retain control of its wealthy eastern region.

    Western Sahara

     

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    This one has been underway for longer than most college students have been alive. A huge, mineral-rich territory almost as large as Morocco itself, Western Sahara stretches south of Morocco along the Atlantic Coast. If it didn’t have generous phosphate deposits to mine, it’s conceivable that its half-million inhabitants would have been left alone when Spain ended its colonial rule in 1975. Instead, Morocco moved in and fought a long war with a local independence group called the Polisario Front. Since 1991, the United Nations has monitored a cease-fire and was mandated to organize an independence referendum to settle Western Sahara’s future.

    Some diplomats—perhaps a bit Pollyanna-ish—believe that the vote could finally come to pass in two or three years, and their assumption is that the independence faction would win. Western Sahara has beautiful desertscapes and an undeveloped coastline; it is huge, 100,000 square miles, and mostly uninhabited. It probably wouldn’t join Morocco as a top tourist destination, but its mining industry and natural resources could position it as a relatively wealthy neighbor to Morocco and Algeria, if things go right—or could doom it to the “resource curse” that often mires resource-rich countries in poverty and underdevelopment.

    New Caledonia

     

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    A French-controlled island in the Pacific, New Caledonia gained renown because of the brutal measures the French undertook to suppress the locals in the 19th century, and later for its critical role as an Allied naval base during World War II. Today it is one of the most prosperous economies in the South Pacific, with healthy agriculture, tourism, and mining sectors. French support has been generous, which might explain why voters rejected independence during a referendum in the 1980s.

    Secessionist parties have grown in popularity since, however, and a second vote will be held before 2018. If it succeeds, New Caledonia would join Djibouti, Algeria, and the dozens of former French colonies sprinkled around the globe. France has already said it won’t fight to keep New Caledonia, but it’s not clear whether the island will really cut its ties: Many local opponents of independence believe that when they get to the voting booth, residents won’t want to let go of the French subsidies that would disappear after independence.

    Bougainville

     

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    A tropical Pacific island currently ruled by Papua New Guinea, Bougainville has a copper mine and about 250,000 inhabitants. Past governments have hired foreign mercenaries to quash secessionist rebellions, but now Bougainville is scheduled to vote on independence between 2015 and 2020 and Papua New Guinea now seems resigned to let the territory go if voters support independence.

    Aside from miners, it’s unlikely to attract casual visitors. Like Papua New Guinea, it’s hard to reach. Fun fact: It’s named after the same French navigator as the ubiquitous warm-climate bougainvillea vine.

     

    Iraqi Kurdistan

     

    One example of the slow-and-steady approach is Iraqi Kurdistan. Kurds have ruled their own enclave, more or less free from Baghdad, since 1991. They speak their own language, have their own regional government, and have developed their own oil industry. Kurdistan is its own country for all practical purposes; it even has its own border guards. But it has avoided war and preserved its relations with neighboring Iran and Turkey (which have their own restive Kurdish minorities) by stopping short of declaring independence.

    Now, with Iraq’s central government distracted by its war against the jihadi Islamic State, the president of the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government this month ordered his parliament to set up an independence referendum. Until recently, Kurdish politicians believed they could never secede without some kind of buy-in from Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Iran, all of which oppose Kurdish independence. But the new turmoil in the region has these governments distracted with more pressing issues, and they might be willing to accept an independent Kurdistan if it means a genuinely stable new neighbor.

    If the referendum were to pass, Kurdistan would be a landlocked mountainous territory with stunning mountains and lakes and major oil and natural gas reserves. Compared to its neighbors, Kurdistan has been prosperous and politically coherent, controlled mostly by a few traditional clans who have proven adept at developing the economy and coopting potential challenges from Turkey and Iran by inviting them to invest heavily in Kurdistan’s economic boom. A free Kurdistan would bring to a close a curious irony: one of the Middle East’s most stable countries in recent years has stayed that way by not being a country at all.

    Thanassis Cambanis, a fellow at The Century Foundation, is the author of “A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah’s Legions and Th

  • Matar al pare, per Toni Soler

    Per Toni Soler a Ara.cat,  27 juliol 2014

    PUJOLISME. Els meus pares eren un matrimoni ben avingut, però votaven partits diferents. El pare era pallaquista sense Pallach i, per tant, votava el PSC, però amb certa recança; la mare votava CiU, però no es refiava dels partits ni de les ideologies, sinó de la seva intuïció amb les persones, que no li fallava gairebé mai. I, per tant, es definia sempre com a pujolista. Quan sentia parlar Pujol, hi estava d’acord en tot. També li passava amb altres polítics, com ara Eulàlia Vintró (i deia: “Com pot ser que m’agradi tot el que diu aquesta dona, si és comunista?”). Però en el cas de Pujol hi havia un nivell de connexió superior, que tenia a veure amb el tarannà, amb la manera de dir les coses, aquella empatia que va seduir milers de catalans de tota filiació durant més de dues dècades. I sobretot: se’n refiava. “D’en Pujol, me’n refio”, això és el que deia, com si fos un eslògan. Per tant, si alguna cosa m’alegra avui és que la meva mare ja no hi sigui; m’alegra que s’hagi estalviat aquesta confessió pública que, segurament, l’hauria desencantat de la política per sempre més.

    MORAL. La caiguda de Pujol és un torpede per a la moral col·lectiva. Avui som un país més fràgil. No cal ser convergent per admetre-ho. Pujol no només va ser un líder polític; també va exercir de referent moral, i molts dels seus votants l’idolatraven perquè el consideraven l’expressió de les virtuts públiques del país -l’anar per feina, el seny, el diàleg, el país de tots, la feina ben feta, totes aquelles expressions que ara ressonen com una closca buida-. Pujol, amb la seva confessió, ha fet que molts catalans se sentin estafats, que tinguin la sensació d’haver viscut, en part, una mentida. Però el cas és que aquest frau convivia amb veritats granítiques: el modern discurs catalanista, la construcció de l’autonomia, el llegat ideològic. Tot això forma part del nostre present, i en part l’explica. Però hauran de passar uns anys perquè rescatem aquesta herència; de primer haurem d’acceptar el fet lamentable que el principal líder d’aquest país i una part de la seva nissaga va cometre delictes fiscals durant decennis; que no ha confessat els fets fins que no ha tingut altre remei, i que segurament la seva laxitud va contaminar el comportament de CiU i el del govern català fins a extrems que, de moment, només podem sospitar.

    EL PROCÉS. Costa d’entendre que una persona com Pujol, tan preocupada per la seva empremta en la història, no s’adonés de fins a quin punt posava en risc la seva figura. Ara el mal ja està fet, i un president que segurament aspirava a compartir honors amb Macià i Companys marxarà de la vida pública de la pitjor manera possible. Els seus enemics tenen tot el dret a sucar-hi pa; però són ells els que sempre han dit que Pujol no és Catalunya; per tant, els haurem de fer cas. Certament, Catalunya no és Pujol, ni tampoc Millet; com Espanya no és Bárcenas, Gürtel ni el GAL. Els plats trencats de tot això només els ha de pagar la família Pujol, i també CDC si no es despujolitza de manera ràpida i contundent; però el procés sobiranista, que és també un procés regenerador, ha d’emergir d’aquest trist episodi carregat de raons. Sobretot ara, quan les portes de la Transició es tanquen definitivament. Des d’avui som tots Èdips, condemnats a matar el pare per assolir la maduresa. I això, en termes de país, vol dir deslliurar-nos per sempre de tota mena de patriarcats.

    Tant de bo aquesta sigui l’última lliçó del pujolisme.

  • Fiscal balances: an issue on the table

    Fiscal balances: an issue on the table

    By Marta Espasa on Tue, 29/07/2014 – 14:17
    Catalan News Agency (CNA)
    Catalan Views Blog

    A fiscal balance is a tool that measures the central government’s redistribution impact among the Autonomous Communities. That is to say, this allows one to know the expenditure made by the central government in a given territory and the fiscal revenue obtained from that territory. The fiscal balance is the difference between the expenditure allocated and the revenue collected by the central government in a specific territory. Therefore, when an Autonomous Community posts a fiscal deficit, it means that the revenue the central government obtains from that territory is higher than the expenditure it makes. At the same time, a fiscal surplus indicates that the revenue obtained is lower than the expenditure.

    In order to obtain such a calculation there are two important methodological approaches which are complementary and answer different questions: the flow approach and the tax-benefit approach. The first one aims to measure the economic impact generated by the central government in a given territory, whilst the tax-benefit approaches  tries to calculate the impact of the central government’s actions on the citizens living in a given territory.

    The criteria behind the flow approach method consist in attributing revenue in accordance to the place where the taxable economic capacity is located and the expenditure in accordance to the territory where they take place. Nevertheless, the criteria behind the tax-benefit approach  allocates revenue to the territory where the people who finally bear the tax burden reside,, while expenditure is attributed to the place where beneficiaries live, independently from the geographic place where the service or investment takes place.

    The tax-benefit methodology is reasonable, but its implementation is very subjective, since multiple and controversial hypotheses have to be set regarding who bears the burden of taxation and who is benefiting from each and every expenditure item.

    On the other hand, the flow approach is much more objective, since it only analyses the destination of public expenditure, a criterion that the State’s public accounting system applies, as all the budget items include a territorial code. In this way, for instance, the territorial attribution of a grant for farmers from an Autonomous Community is directly using the flow approach. Instead, the implementation of the tax-benefit criteria means also analysing who benefits from this grant, being the farmers but also the consumers who will be able to buy products at a lower price, the agri-food industry, etc. and also several hypotheses regarding how this benefit is split among these different groups of people have to be set.

    Regarding the results of the study presented by the Spanish Finance Ministry and compiled by Angel De la Fuente, Ramón Barberan and Ezequiel Uriel, the first thing to be said is that they do not calculate the fiscal balances but what they call “Public territorialised accounts“. In fact, they never talk about fiscal balance, among others issue, because they include the tax revenue of both the Autonomous Communities and local governments in the calculation, which is something unprecedented in the case of the fiscal balances.

    Besides, the study only applies the tax benefit approach, which is the one splitting most of the central government’s expenditure among all the Spanish citizens, regardless of where they live. In addition, they consider the flow approach as an invalid methodology. This issue is questionable, since most of the studies at a national and international level consider that both approaches are valid.

    Finally, regarding the results, they are difficult to justify and far from reality. An example is the fact that Catalonia presents an expenditure which is €910 million higher than the Spanish average, while the Madrid Region has a central government’s spending which is €2,455 million below the Spanish average. It is hard to believe, isn’t it?

     

    by Marta Espasa

    Professor of Economics at Universitat de Barcelona

     

  • Catalunya paga, paga i paga

    Article del secretari general d’Unió, Josep M. Pelegrí, al diari digital E-Notícies. 27 juliol 2014.

    El govern del PP ha fet públiques les seves balances fiscals i, malgrat haver buscat una única metodologia per interessos partidistes, els números demostren que Catalunya té un dèficit fiscal molt important. És evident que quan des de el Parlament de Catalunya o des del govern reclamem que es posi fre a aquest abús ho fem des de la realitat dels números i dels fets, i mai des de la demagògia.

    Ens hauria agradat que, tal com fem des de Catalunya, el govern de l’Estat hagués fet publiques les balances fiscals amb totes les metodologies existents i internacionalment acceptades. D’aquesta manera es podria precisar amb més exactitud la situació real de cada comunitat. En tot cas, evidencia que l’actual dèficit fiscal que pateixen tots els catalans i totes les catalanes és injust i insuportable. Perquè, siguin els 8.500 milions d’euros de dèficit anunciats per l’executiu Rajoy o els 11.000 calculats pel govern de la Generalitat, és evident que parlem en ambdós casos d’un desequilibri fiscal molt important i manifestament insostenible.

    Continuem reclamant al govern espanyol que faci aquests càlculs amb totes les metodologies: la del flux monetari i la de càrrega benefici. El govern Rajoy s’adonaria que des de Catalunya no plantegem ni exageracions ni fantasmades quan denunciem que patim un abús fiscal sistemàtic. S’ha anat produint any rere any amb el que això té de negatiu per a la nostra economia, per al nostre creixement econòmic i per a la nostra capacitat d’oferir els serveis que tots els catalans mereixem.

    Aquest serà probablement un dels temes –no l’únic a més de la consulta- que caldrà tractar en la reunió que el president Mas mantindrà demà amb Mariano Rajoy. Hi ha moltes qüestions en les quals l’Estat no és just ni amb Catalunya ni amb els catalans i les catalanes.

    Per acabar, i ja que aquest es el meu últim article abans de l’agost, vull desitjar-unes bones vacances a qui les faci i que aquest període estiuenc ens serveixi a tots per recuperar forces ja que el setembre començarem un període apassionant i transcendental per al nostre país.

    Bon estiu!

    Josep M. Pelegrí, secretari general d’Unió Democràtica de Catalunya