“The first step in this new stage is the publication of the Informe EuroMedi. Anàlisi de les potencialitats de l’Euroregió Mediterrània i de les limitacions que li són imposades”
[EuroMedi Report: Analysis of the potential of the Mediterranean Euroregion and the constraints to which it is subject].
The Mediterranean Euroregion covers an area that encompasses three main territories – Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands – but is flexible enough so that, if dictated by circumstances and further analysis, other territories can be incorporated, such as the autonomous communities of Aragon, Murcia, and Andalusia in Spain, Northern Catalonia and Occitania in France, and the Principality of Andorra. The three territories have many things in common: in addition to sharing a language and culture and belonging to the historical Crown of Aragon, Valencia, the Balearic Islands, and Catalonia have a similar geostrategic situation, share a similar growth model in terms of SMEs, tourism and agriculture, and are among the autonomous communities in the Spanish state that contribute the most but receive the least in terms of financing and investments in infrastructure. One example of these common interests is the construction of the Mediterranean Corridor railway, which would mainly benefit Catalonia and Valencia, but would also affect the Balearic Islands regarding exports to the peninsula and beyond. Additionally, leaders and political parties, as well as organisations and institutions, have often called for more mutual collaboration to produce policies that will be effective for the needs of all three territories.
In 2018, the Foundation entered a new stage in which, in addition to the work of promoting the Catalan language in the aforementioned areas, it began to seek out, prepare and disseminate to the general public the data and information to demonstrate that the territories of the Mediterranean Euroregion – in other words, Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands – are victims of a state model that thwarts their development and the quality of life of their citizens. This is evident in many areas, including, for example, the financing of their institutions and the distribution of public investments.
The first step in this new stage is the publication of the Informe EuroMedi. Anàlisi de les potencialitats de l’Euroregió Mediterrània i de les limitacions que li són imposades [EuroMedi Report: Analysis of the potential of the Mediterranean Euroregion and the constraints to which it is subject].
The objectives in this task can be summarised as:
- Preparing studies and reports that reveal how the Euroregion is economically discriminated against, despite its potential.
- Disseminating the Foundation’s studies and reports through conventional channels and social media.
- Disseminating third-party studies, reports, articles and news items that are in line with the Foundation’s objectives.
- Asking governments, political parties, institutions, entities and individuals who live in the territories of the Euroregion, regardless of their ideology, to demand a new, fairer and more equitable model of financing and resource distribution through public investment.
“The aim of the project is to create a sustainable development cluster in the north-western Mediterranean region based on innovation and the social and economic integration of the territory. As such, the Euroregion shall contribute to the construction of a united, solidarity-based Europe attuned to the concerns and experiences of its citizens”
The other Euroregions
Since 2002, the Institut Ignasi Villalonga d’Economia i Empresa has been using the name Mediterranean Arc Euroregion (EURAM), a fitting term that we consider equivalent to ours. Moreover, there is also an official precedent, which shares some similarities with Fundació Vincle’s project for the Mediterranean Euroregion. On 29 October 2004, the Pyrenees-Mediterranean Euroregion was born, an organism with European support; its current members are the territories of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, and a part of Occitania. The Autonomous Community of Aragon was initially a member but decided to leave after a time. According to the Pyrenees-Mediterranean Euroregion project,
“The aim of the project is to create a sustainable development cluster in the north-western Mediterranean region based on innovation and the social and economic integration of the territory. As such, the Euroregion shall contribute to the construction of a united, solidarity-based Europe attuned to the concerns and experiences of its citizens” (see www.euroregio.eu/en).
It is a fundamentally public initiative where the priority is to highlight the potential of these territories and promote collaboration between institutions; its activities have taken place at irregular intervals over time.
A Euroregion Systematically Undermined Economically and in Public Investment
The four member territories help finance the Spanish State; i.e., they are net contributors to the public coffers. However, this net contribution is not subsequently reflected in the State’s distribution of the resources it centralises and manages, through financing and public investment in each autonomous community. At first one might assume that Madrid, like the three Euroregion communities, is also at a strong disadvantage. However, the figures and graphs reveal that its status as the capital fully compensates for its net contribution, and then some, as is repeatedly demonstrated throughout the report. Navarre and the Basque Country are approaching the threshold of becoming autonomous communities with a net contribution, but their absolute numbers are small proportionally and do not have a major effect on the bulk of contributions to the State – all the more so if we bear in mind that they are the only two communities that have a separate fiscal system which protects them, so they remain outside the common Spanish economic regime. The situation is both critical and alarming for all three territories of the Euroregion: Catalonia contributes 8.5% of the GDP to state coffers, Valencia between 2% and 5%, and the Balearic Islands a tremendous 11% to 15%, depending on the source. (The scarcity of information on state-wide fiscal balances obliges us to establish approximate ranges based on the different information that is available). The case of the Balearic Islands is a scandal, without any doubt, since it is the autonomous community in the Spanish state where the fiscal drainage is most pronounced. In Catalonia there is an undeserved imbalance between what it contributes and what it receives. Valencia is in a similar situation; it is also the only net contributor community with below average income levels among the population.
One of the great failures of the Spanish state is that, in 40 years of democracy, it has prevented most of its autonomous communities from becoming self-sufficient. On the contrary, some (quite a few) have become accustomed to remaining permanently dependent on other territories. Beyond what unites us in questions of language, culture, and history, a fact that should not be underestimated is that it is necessary and urgent for Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands to present a united front to pressure the Spanish state to reorient its economic and public investment policies and switch to a new, fairer and more equitable model. On the one hand, there is a clear need for a new financing model; on the other hand, efforts must be made to loosen a restrictive centralism that impacts citizens and the degree of self-determination they can exercise through their autonomous governments. If there is not a substantial change in these policies in the coming years, which depends mainly on the willingness of the Spanish government, the viability and development of the territories of Valencia, the Balearic Islands, and Catalonia could be seriously compromised, and the Spanish state could end up killing the goose that laid the golden eggs, sacrificing its own viability in the process.
Campaigns and Studies
Development and publication of the EuroMedi Report. Anàlisi de les potencialitats de l’Euroregió Mediterrània i de les limitacions que li són imposades [EuroMedi Report: Analysis of the potential of the Mediterranean Euroregion and the constraints to which it is subject].