In Spain where I most live, and I say mostly because we travel so much, there are parts of the country, Basques, Catalans, that would like to become independent. Or let’s say there are some people in some parts of the country that would like to become a new country (because I understand that if there was a referendum say in Catalonia and everyone who lives there voted the “independistas” would lose). Why? I see two trends that are “gluing” Spain together in spite of its different cultures. One is demographics. Native Spaniards have one of the lowest birth rates in the world and if the population of Spain does not shrink it’s because of immigrants who are 12% of the population but have a quarter of all new babies. As an immigrant myself and father of 5 I know that immigrants do not care about issues related to nationalism. My children consider the nationalisms of Spain a problem of the past, irrelevant to them. As a family, we already moved to another country Spain, and have a hard time thinking of that country itself moving to another country or becoming a smaller different nation. The second trend is the accelerated increase in the national debt in the context of a European and global financial crisis. If a part of Spain wanted to split up now, say Catalonia, they would have to agree with Spain’s creditors what part of their debt corresponds to Catalonia and that would be tougher than all the discussion around language and culture. We are a country partly united by its obligations. Maybe if things get really bad, like in Greece, there could be a fragmentation of Spain. But in terms of GDP over debt Spain is still only at 70% and Greece close to 200%. So we are not there yet.
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