CIS Poll (#2909)
Poll gives Spain's PP a 14 point lead on ruling party, The Guardian, Reuters, July 31st.
You've only got to put up with me for four more months, The Economist.
Early Spanish General Election Set for November 20th, CNA Catalan News Agency, July 29th.
Constitutional Reform (in Spanish)
BBC News: "Spain moves closer to constitutional budget deficit cap", August 30th.
CNA Catalan News Agency: "Spain's two main parties agree on a constitutional amendment without the explicit support from other parties", August 28th.
See more on the CNA Catalan News Agency's section on the Constitutional Amendment.
The Effects of the Economic Crisis on Self-government
At the beginning of the economic crisis, most analyses showed that the crisis and its policy effects were not having any direct influence on the debate on the nature of self-government itself. Recent events have changed this situation dramatically: the political measures that Central Government has adopted to address the crisis have implied increasing centralization which has thus had a direct and negative effect on self-government, and which has clearly linked the political and social debate about the crisis to the debate on self-government by the autonomous communities.
Although the clearest example of these measures is the recent reform of the Constitution that has been mentioned above, another key example was the ruling of the Spanish Constitutional Court in July 2011 that Central Government has the power to establish limits on the spending of the Autonomous Communities through the establishment of compulsory objectives of budgetary stability. This ruling referred to an appeal against the Spanish law on budgetary stability (2001) which had been made by the Parliament of Catalonia.
The economic crisis has reignited debate on self-government in Spain because it has made it clearer than ever that self-government is highly constricted by the Autonomous Communities' economic dependence on Central Government resources. Such dependence is perceived by some as limitations which are necessary in order to address the economic crisis, and by others as the main obstacle in allowing solutions to be found.
In purely practical terms, the very high level of debt at all levels of public administration has resulted in debates on self-government being focussed on economic efficiency and the simplification of public administration.
Some argue that one cause, or even the main cause, of these debt problems is the level of spending of the Autonomous Communities. Thus, the re-centralization of powers to Central Government and the tightening of controls on the spending of the Autonomous Communities are seen as key elements in dealing with the economic crisis. As a consequence, the Autonomous Communities, which have to meet the costs of delivering basic welfare services (their powers include healthcare, primary and secondary education, and social services), have seen Central Government postpone and cut its intergovernmental transfers. It has even claimed back the difference between the sums it advanced in respect of the 2010 income tax yields and the sums finally collected. In this sense, it is hardly surprising that the Presidents of some Autonomous Communities have said that they would like powers on education and health to be re-centralized to Central Government.
From other perspectives, however, dependence on revenue from Central Government is seen as the main handicap for both the development of self-government and for economic recovery. The strangling effects that economic dependence has on the political margin of manoeuvre of the Autonomous Communities, together with the dramatic influence that Spanish internal politics has on Central Government's policy decisions affecting the territory (location infrastructures, research policy), leave territorial economic and social needs in a secondary position.
In this sense, the Catalan Parliament has established a Committee to develop a proposal for a new system of financing for Catalonia, which is to be inspired by the independent tax systems already in place in Navarre and the Basque Country (in these two Autonomous Communities taxes are raised directly and then some of this money is transferred to Central Government).
Such considerations are also influencing the growing distance between Catalonia and the rest of Spain. Recent polls carried out in Catalonia have for the first time asked questions about a hypothetical referendum for the independence of Catalonia. 42.9% of respondents said they would vote in favour (compared with 20.2% who would vote against and 23.3% who would abstain), and among all the reasons given by those who say they would vote in favour, economic and fiscal arguments predominate: 36.4% of those who say they would vote in favour of independence cite economic reasons (in order to increase economic and fiscal autonomy); the second most popular reason (that the Spanish do not understand the Catalans) was given by 13.6%.
Link to the Spanish Constitutional Court's decision (in Spanish)
Documents and debates
In order to promote understanding and debate on the Catalan and Spanish political context, we have selected some articles in English which, from different angles, deal with the current debates on the economic crisis and self-government in Spain.
Catalan News Agency
- The Spanish Government has 76% of Spain's total public debt, while the Autonomous Community share is “only” 17%
- Full fiscal autonomy for Catalonia in exchange for a “permanent and stable ally”, July 22nd
- The Spanish Fiscal Deficit Crisis, issue # 4
- The ties that bind Catalonia, Pankaj Ghemawat, June 16th
- Split personality. How vulnerable is Spain? The answer depends on which Spain you mean, July 7th
- Regions to be worried. Local autonomy makes it harder to cut the budget deficit, April 2011
For political data on the autonomous-community governments from the 1980s to nowadays, click here. You will find information about dates, type of government, parties in government, parliamentary composition, motions and questions of confidence, names of the autonomous-community premiers from the first to the current governmental terms... Links to official gazettes when available.
Following the elections, we have updated the contents of the IEA Facts Sheets on the autonomous communities. The sheets are available in our web site, in the section The Autonomous Communities: Political Map. Click here for a direct access.
Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas
Estudio 2907. Debate sobre el Estado de la Nación
Estudio 2905. Barómetro junio 2011
Estudio 2888. Barómetro mayo 2011
Estudio 2885. Barómetro abril 2011
Estudio 2882. Preelectoral Elecciones Autonómicas 2011. La Rioja
Estudio 2881. Preelectoral Elecciones Autonómicas 2011. Navarra
Estudio 2880. Preelectoral Elecciones Autonómicas 2011. Región de Murcia
Estudio 2879. Preelectoral Elecciones Autonómicas 2011. Extremadura
Estudio 2878. Preelectoral Elecciones Autonómicas 2011. Castilla y León
Estudio 2877. Preelectoral Elecciones Autonómicas 2011. Castilla-La Mancha
Estudio 2876. Preelectoral Elecciones Autonómicas 2011. Cantabria
Estudio 2875. Preelectoral Elecciones Autonómicas 2011. Canarias
Estudio 2874. Preelectoral Elecciones Autonómicas 2011. Illes Balears
Estudio 2872. Preelectoral Elecciones Autonómicas y Municipales 2011. Comunidad Valenciana
Estudio 2871. Preelectoral Elecciones Autonómicas y Municipales 2011. Comunidad de Madrid
Estudio 2870. Preelectoral Elecciones Autonómicas y Municipales 2011. Aragón
Estudio 2857. Postelectoral de Cataluña. Elecciones autonómicas 2010
Gabinete de Prospección Sociológica. Gobierno Vasco
Sociómetro Vasco 46. Políticas Públicas. July 2011
Sondeo postelectoral de Elecciones a Juntas Generales y Municipales 2011. Jun 2011
Análisis Postelectoral de Elecciones a Juntas Generales y Municipales 2011. May 2011.
Forthcoming seminars and conferences
Conference by Prof. Guy Laforest (Université de Laval) and Prof. Alain Gagnon (Université de Québec): Present and Future of Canadian Federalism: a View from Quebec
October 17th, 12 pm.
Seminar: Com vincula la jurisprudència constitucional els legisladors? [How does constitutional case-law bind the legislative power?]
October 28th, 10 am.
Seminar: Drets lingüístics, de debò? Els drets lingüístics en les actuacions administratives i en determinades activitats supervisades per les administracions [Seminar on linguistic rights and its actual implementatation by public administrations].
December 2nd, 9.30 am.
:: IEA Grants
CEREIJO SOTO, ANTONIO. Una justícia pròxima i eficaç des de les Comunitats Autònomes: el Rechtspfleger
CUYÁS PALAZÓN, Mª. MERCEDES. La gestió aeroportuària a França. Un model desitjable a Catalunya?
DONAIRE VILLA, FRANCISCO JAVIER. Las normas con fuerza de ley de las Comunidades Autònomas: las figuras del Decreto legislativo y el Decreto-ley autonómicos
GARCÍA MARTÍNEZ, ANDRÉS. La autonomía tributaria de las entidades federadas en Bélgica
MATAS DALMASES, JORDI. El perfil polític dels consellers dels governs de Jordi Pujol (1980-2003)
RUSSO, ANNA MARGHERITA. La linkage adaptation en la multi-layered European Constitution: las dinámicas asimétrico-relacionales del pluralismo territorial español en perspectiva comparada. ¿Hacia un regionalismo de integración?
SOLÉ OLLÉ, Albert. The political economy of partial fiscal decentralization: theory and empirical evidence.
VILALTA REIXACH, MARC. L'encàrrec de gestió i els mecanismes de col·laboració entre Administracions Públiques
:: IEA Publications
Instituciones y competencias en los estados descentralizados
Institutions and powers in decentralized countries [digital]
Enric Argullol i Murgadas, Clara Isabel Velasco Rico (dirs.)
"Institut d'Estudis Autonòmics" Collection, #76
Political Liberalism and Plurinational Democracies
Ferran Requejo, Miquel Caminal (eds.)
In coedition with Routledge
Jurisprudències constitucionals sobre drets lingüístics: princis i criteris
Seminari. Barcelona, 21 d'octubre de 2010
Antoni Milian Massana
"Institut d'Estudis Autonòmics" Collection, #77
Descentralización y control electoral de los gobiernos en España
Ignacio Lago Peñas, Santiago Lago Peñas
"Con(Textos)A" Collection, 14
Los sistemas electorales autonómicos
Joan Oliver Araujo
"Con(Textos)A" Collection, 15
Federalism in Australia
Pollux Aevariste Kjeld, Betascript Publishing, 2011 (ISBN 978-6135713886).
El blindaje de las normas forales fiscales
Juan Manuel Criado Gámez (dir.), María Esther Martínez Aguirre (coord.), Iustel, Gobierno de la Rioja, 2011 (ISBN 978-84-9890-147-4).
La interpretación de la Constitución por el Tribunal Constitucional
Juan José González Rivas, Civitas, 2011 (ISBN 978-84-470-3614-1).
The Const¡tut¡on of Germany: a contextual analysis
Werner Heun, Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2011 (ISBN 978-1841138688).
Las diferencias regionales del sector público español
Francisco Pérez García, Bilbao: Fundación BBVA, 2011. (ISBN 9788492937097).
European Economic and Social Constitutionalism after the Treaty of Lisbon
Dagmar Schiek, Ulrike Liebert, Hildegard Schneider (editors), Cambridge University Press, 2011 (ISBN 978-1107006812).
La selección de jueces en Estados Unidos
Rosario Serra Cristóbal, Madrid: Civitas, 2011 (ISBN 978-84-470-3597-7).
The foundat¡ons of publ¡c law: pr¡nc¡ples and problems of power ¡n the Brit¡sh Const¡tut¡on
Keith Syrett, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011 (ISBN 978-0230236431).
Federalism and Economic Reform: International Perspectives
Jessica Wallack, T. N. Srinivasan (editors), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011 (ISBN 978-1107402546).
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