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Skip to 0 minutes and 15 seconds We ask four key questions to Oriol Amat i Salas, who has been a member of the Parliament of Catalonia, representing the �Junts pel s� political coalition, and is currently a professor of Financial Economics and Accounting at Pompeu Fabra University, and President of the Register of Accounting Experts as well as the Catalan Association of Accounting and Management. So, we have with us not only an expert in the field of finance, but also a person who is directly involved in this sector in Catalonia, and who can offer us a reliable and interesting view of how the economy is at the core of political decision-making.

Skip to 0 minutes and 52 seconds In what situation is the Catalan economy? The Catalan economy is in a very good situation. We must remember that the objective of an economy is to generate wealth for the people. And now we can see that in the last years the Catalan economy has generated a lot of employment, we have been able to reduce unemployment. And by other hand, we have increased a lot the activity and a lot the salaries. But anyway, for the future we have big challenges. One is to continue to reduce the unemployment and by other hand we need to increase much more the salaries. So, we are in a good position but we need to address big challenges we have for the future.

Skip to 1 minute and 37 seconds What are its strengths? The Catalan economy has big strengths. The first one is location. We are in a part of the world which is very convenient for the business and economy. But by other hand we have a Mediterranean culture, a lifestyle, a climate, a weather which is very convenient for the business environment. By other hand we have an economy which has a lot of diversifications. Our first industry is tourism, second is construction and third we have a lot, dozens, of important industries like agro food, chemicals, vehicles and so. So we are very diversified. Another important strength of our economy is the people.

Skip to 2 minutes and 28 seconds We have a lot of culture, education, important universities, business schools� so all these characteristics make Catalonia an important region for the economy and that�s why a lot of foreign companies come here to invest. Some months ago, the �Financial Times� study said that this is the region more interesting for the future investment for multinationals in Europe. What are its weaknesses? But by other hand we have important weaknesses. The most important one is the fiscal deficit we have with the Spanish state. Every year Catalans we pay a lot of taxes but 40% of all the taxes we pay go to Madrid and don�t come back. So for every 100 euros we pay, only 60 come back.

Skip to 3 minutes and 27 seconds 40 euros out of 100 don�t come back. This affects in a very important way to our economy, to our infrastructures, to our railways, airports and so. This is an important weakness. A second weakness is that we have a state, the Spanish state, who fights against us. There are many examples which show, which demonstrate that without a state it�s very difficult for a region to go ahead, so that�s a second and very important weakness. And the third weakness is that sometimes companies don�t see Catalonia as a region for the future, some companies. We have seeing in sometimes that some companies leave the region and they don�t see Catalonia as a long term investment.

Skip to 4 minutes and 17 seconds That�s a pity because this space will be occupied by other companies. So we see nowadays that a lot of foreign companies come here because they bet on Catalonia so this is a region with a lot of strengths and some weaknesses that we need to address. Is the Catalonia independence economically viable? The economy of Catalonia has been studied many times by many economists very prestigious, some Nobel prize for example have studied this and they say that if Catalonia was an independent state would be one of the wealthiest countries in the world. In the last 5 years, we have done more than 300 studies.

Skip to 5 minutes and 4 seconds Here at the universities and business schools, in foreign institutes of research� all of them conclude, with some exceptions, but almost all of them conclude that this is an economy with a lot of strengths and this is because we are very internationalized economy with a lot of people well educated in a location which is very convenient so for all this reasons this is a very important region for the economy. We must remember that Catalonia every year pays to the European Union more than 1.600.000.000 euros, that we pay, and that�s a surplus, we get some financial aid from the European Union but we pay more.

Skip to 5 minutes and 51 seconds So we pay more, a lot of money to the European Union, we are very happy to do so, and that�s a demonstration that�s this is a region who want to be an European state, an European member, and Europe, I�m sure, it�s very interested that Catalonia it�s one of the important regions and states in Europe.

Economy: strengths & weaknesses

The Catalan economy is based on a structure with great potential, but, with the current fiscal deficit and the distrust of some European companies, Catalonia has to prove to Europe that it can be an economically viable state.

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This video is from the free online course:

Getting to Know Catalonia: An Introduction to the Catalan Language, Culture and Society

Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona