Marta Pascal – 06/07/2020
Leader of the new PNC (Catalan Nationalist Party)
In a country like Catalonia today, it is pertinent to reflect on the meaning of patriotism. Concept linked to the esteem of the country that one feels as one’s own and to the civic virtues in favor of the community. Patriotism can manifest itself in many ways: in defense of community cohesion and solidarity, in defense of language, talent, indigenous industry, culture, economic and social development throughout the entire territory without exclusions, and from so many other manifestations that link the future of a community of people who feel like a nation. The current situation requires high doses of patriotism. I’ll explain myself.
In Catalonia, one in three people in the labor force is out of work (between the unemployment rate and the ERTE). One in three companies is at risk and one in six has an open ERTE. In practically 50% of Catalan households with two members, only one works, and more than half of young wage earners under the age of 30 have a salary equal to or less than 1,000 euros per month.
These figures are today the reality of the country. The serious situation we have is more than evident. We cannot wait any longer to resolve these deficits, which in some cases are the result of the damage caused by the Covid-19 drama, but which in many cases are structural problems that have dragged on since the previous crisis. A photo of today after years in which
Catalan parties have relegated the care that the productive fabric deserves, while successive Spanish governments practiced economic centralism and condemned Catalonia to the chronic fiscal deficit.
The potential of the Catalan economy is extraordinary. In the application of new technologies, in areas such as sustainability, quality of life, manufacturing, tourism or industry 4.0, we have a potential similar to the most prosperous territories in Europe. We have talent and capabilities. There is a country. There is productive fabric. Barcelona can become one of the innovation hubs in Europe, fostering new value chains such as medtech, advanced textiles, biotechnology, robotics, advanced manufacturing, 5G and microelectronics.
Patriotism, more than ever, requires taking care today of the tools that have to guarantee the strength of the Catalan economy in the morning. Contrary to what the Generalitat’s budgets for 2020 do, which condemn starvation to the factors of competitiveness that should lead the reorientation of our productive fabric. And in addition, they do so by increasing the tax burden on our home, affecting families, the self-employed, and small and medium-sized companies, and hampering our competitiveness in a globalized economy framework.
In the face of such a serious crisis, what is needed is to better manage everyone’s resources, lower taxes, invest in innovation and technology, abolish the inheritance tax, reduce VAT on certain products, such as health or culture. The administration has to plan its indebtedness well to practice solidarity with those who experience the crisis in the first person but avoiding shifting the burden of excessive debt to future generations. Governing with the long term in mind and not just the upcoming elections. And it is necessary that the public and private initiative work in common agreement and stop looking sideways.
It is time to build Catalonia and the best way to do it is to work for the country’s competitiveness, job creation (manufacturing and tourism are paramount in this objective) and bet on an economy with high added value, guarantee of future social cohesion. Patriotism today is to guarantee that social aid goes where it is needed in the face of the economic emergency that we are suffering. Patriotism today is thinking and acting for the seven and a half million Catalans. It is time to work together to raise Catalonia. It is time for useful, effective and uncompromising patriotism.