About half of the residents of Catalonia favour independence (perhaps not surprisingly, the majority being those with Catalan parents and grandparents), while the rest are content living in a solidly democratic state where they enjoy control over their own education, police, healthcare, transport, agriculture, environment policy, and municipal governments and get to keep most of their tax money.
Although Catalonia would be richer if it kept all its tax money, Catalans also know that independence would mean, at least for a while, a colossal blow to the economy. The EU has already made it clear that Catalonia would have to start from the bottom in reapplying for membership.
Madrid refuses to allow the Catalans a Scottish style referendum on independence (according to the Spanish constitution, the whole country would have to vote on it, not just Catalonia) but that didn’t stop the Catalan government, led by Artur Mas, from holding a referendum on 9 November 2014, with two questions: ‘Do you want Catalonia to become a State? and (if yes) ‘Do you want this State to be independent?’
Images by Judesba, Medol, redoxkun