In less than 48 hours there have been two political moves which make it very clear that the margin to negotiate with the Spanish government is close to zero. And we are not talking about negotiating a referendum, like that which Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has proposed to London, to be held before 2021 and which has already received the support of Jeremy Corbyn. No, something infinitely simpler: for Catalonia's Statute of Autonomy to be complied with. The 2006 Statute, heavily cut down by the Constitutional Court (2010), which marked the beginning of the great march towards the independence of Catalonia.
Firstly, then, Catalan vice president Pere Aragonès has announced the filing of a legal claim against Pedro Sánchez's executive for its failure to meet its obligations under Spain's financing system for autonomous communities. The Catalan government has not received a total of 1.7 billion euros from central government, corresponding to the collection of different taxes, among them 50% of VAT and income tax, as well as other special taxes to which it is entitled. All this takes place in the context of the financial asphyxiation which the state is applying to Catalonia, through a clearly unjust financing system, which had to be renewed in 2013 and which neither Mariano Rajoy nor Pedro Sánchez have wanted to address since. And thus Catalonia calculates the annual fiscal deficit from the state at about 16 billion euros annually while the Spanish tax ministry recognizes only about 9.9 billion of this. The Spanish administration has offered all sorts of excuses to Aragonès for the outstanding debt of 1.7 billion euros but has not paid it.
The second move by the Spanish government against Catalonia is its decision to appeal judicially against the Catalan government's 2019-2022 Foreign Action Plan, on the grounds that it goes beyond Catalan competencies. The plan, which is divided into four axes - presence, excellence, influence and commitment - and was passed on June 25th, identifies and defines the objectives that are to mark Catalan action with respect to the European Union and in the foreign affairs area of the Catalan government over the next four years. The Spanish government had two months to appeal it - a deadline which was to expire this Sunday - and in the cabinet meeting this Friday it legally initiated the procedure.
In the independence movement's current debate between confrontation with Spain, civil disobedience and dialogue, the strategy of the "deep state" remains the same as ever: strangling economically, cutting back politically. An impenetrable pathway on which debts cannot be collected and where it is impossible to project oneself to the world.