DELEN

The pensions “piggy bank”, which in 2011 was getting on for 67 billion euros (£59 billion, $80 billion), will have been completely used up in 2018. The predictions that have been made and the alarms which have been raised yearly haven’t helped to correct the current situation which, de facto, is the total extinction of the Social Security fund. Although technically around 8.1 billion euros remain, these would have been spent if it hadn’t been for extra credit of some 10 billion as political subterfuge to not leave the piggy bank at zero. That’s the raw truth of these last six years of the management of pensions in Spain where they aim to save with the excuse of the economic crisis. What’s certain is that politics and what is said is never insignificant and that if we open up the wedge of the debate of recent times between Catalonia and Spain it’s not difficult to remember those worrying quotes from Spanish gentlemen who, without blushing, told older Catalans that independence would put their pensions at risk. It wasn’t true but fear is free and is the first thing which spreads through a society. Catalonia would have been able to pay its pensions if independent in the same way that there is no imminent risk for Spanish pensions in the short term. It would be different if they were doing everything possible to redress a complicated situation, which they aren’t, or if the Spanish government had started on the path to reversing it. Why then is no one talking about this topic when millions of Spaniards could have a serious problem within just a few years? Basically, because no one dares bring up a conversation which will necessarily have to include disagreeable measures. It’s much easier to bring together Spanish nationalism around preventing a sovereign Catalonia than proposing large-scale reforms which would necessarily cause electoral problems for those who open the debate. Spain doesn’t want to be reformed in any substantial aspect and this has been made clear by the party which best represents them outside of Catalonia and the Basque Country, the PP (Popular Party). PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) are flirting with ideas of change which PP are not going to take on and the elites of Madrid will always block. There are enough examples to say so and politics cannot be based on infinite imagination. Hence the weak debates on constitutional reform or on a fair funding system which never leave the starting grid however much noise they make. It would be good if, during the election campaign, the pro-union parties would express their proposals to guarantee the pensions system for all Catalans too. For all those who, in good faith, believed that an independent Catalonia would put them at risk.

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