A word of advice for travellers: Spain has opted for the judicialization of politics and its rigid position makes it difficult to keep abreast of the news, because things get confused; there are new resolutions yet to come and victories that are even getting mixed up with defeats. For example, the decision yesterday by Spain's Central Electoral Commission to suspend Catalan president Quim Torra as a member of parliament, ratified by the Supreme Court when it rejected the precautionary stay of action requested by the defence, and executed in the evening by the Provincial Electoral Commission for Barcelona, has not yet completed its judicial phase and we'll see what ends up finally being decided in a week or two when the Supreme Court makes its final decision. I continue to believe that the court will then put an end to the nonsense going on and will wait for the conclusion of the trial on President Torra's disqualification from holding public office.
We have also seen how the European Parliament withdrew Oriol Junqueras' status as an MEP despite a ruling by the EU Court of Justice last December, once the Spanish Supreme Court had notified it that he had been banned from holding office. The European Parliament justifies itself in its obligation to comply with the final court decisions of a Member State. We'll see what the EU court says when the case comes up again and whether Spain's victory is pyrrhic and temporary or definitive and more significant. Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena has also made a move, with respect to MEPs Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín, acknowledging the immunity of the two in Europe, and not in Spain, where he has maintained his arrest warrants and warns that they will be arrested if they cross the border. It is certainly a sui generis interpretation, but in the end it illustrates how patriotic fervour can stand up to European justice.
There is also the case of the CDR activists jailed by the National Audience Court, the last two of whom have been released after three months in prison. Of the nine people arrested in October, not one remains in jail, and the terrorism accusations initially made against them have disappeared, as if, having achieved the initial result of creating a huge media bubble, the rest was unimportant. There is nothing left of the claimed explosives and "precursors to explosives", but the propaganda and accusatory effect on the Catalan independence movement, as well as those outrageous newspaper front pages, was something that did really happen. It most certainly happened.
But in today's article I wanted to tell you about something important, highly significant, which in the tidal wave of the day's news has, sadly, been drowned. This is the latest update of the fiscal balance between Catalonia and the Spanish state which has been made public by the Catalan finance ministry and states that Catalonia's fiscal deficit exceeded 16.8 billion euros in each of the years 2015 and 2016. Over the two financial years, more than 33 billion euros. In the heat of the day-to-day political battle this statistic has disappeared from debate when it is transcendental and should continue to be a major issue.
There is no better way to explain Spain's behaviour with respect to Catalonia than by quoting real data that reveal it as blatant plunder. The people of Catalonia are subjected to a chronic deficit that affects their quality of life; this is reflected in these overwhelming figures showing that, year after year, by a stratospheric amount, the level of tax paid exceeds the services and investments returned, and it depends little on the colour of the Spanish government. The Catalan administration should continue to publicize this, since it's the best way for people to understand that the economic suffocation they experience has a lot to do with the fiscal deficit that the Spanish state has with Catalonia.