Publisher | Depopulation and politics

The structuring of contemporary Catalonia, at the beginning of the 20th century, was formulated based on the ideal concept of Catalonia-City, an attempt to convert the territory into a whole that will include both the city and the countryside, both the city and the towns, from a conglomerate of services, transport, communications and culture sponsored by the Mancomunitat. Over the years, and with the long parenthesis of the dictatorship, which focused the administration on provincial uniformity and without cross-country projects, an imaginary has been installed in which the distinction between what What does it mean the capital and the surroundings of the Barcelona metropolitan area, overpopulated, and the rest of Catalonia. A dynamic that has generated tensions between the different actors and that, at the same time, has shaped the social (and electoral) fabric of recent decades. The interior or deep Catalonia, as opposed to the one that transmits more sensation of cosmopolitanism and diversity. A large part of Catalan politics has been based on this scheme, in which the old Convergence and Union he knew how to weave complicities and interests to sustain his hegemony.

The times we live in, however, seem to herald a new panorama. According to studies carried out, of the 947 Catalan municipalities there are about 200 that are experiencing a critical situation of depopulation. Likewise, according to Idescat estimates, 354 will lose inhabitants in the next decade. A depopulated Catalonia that tends to organize itself, although not yet with the political drive of the Emptied Spain that, after the electoral success of Teruel exists, has decided to jump into the electoral arena in the next elections of Castile and León. For now, organizations such as ‘Eines de Repoblament Rural’, an entity that was born from the original idea of ​​four mayors and that currently has 504 associated town councils (90% of the towns with less than 2,000 inhabitants, which represent 63% of the country), intends to influence rather than decide. In other words, and according to their own proposals, they trust that, as a pressure group, they will see their requests met by the Generalitat.

One of his priorities is for Parliament to approve a Rural Municipality Statute, that serves as a reference for different demands and that avoids legislation against it. Among its claims, urban planning, education, health, housing, services of all kinds (health, economic), and general measures aimed at avoiding the loss of population and the rebirth of life in semi-abandoned towns. Along with Eines, there is also another organization, rural country, that advocates similar objectives, always with an eye on European projection and the need to achieve greater territorial balance.

The promoter mayors of this movement respond to different acronyms and affiliations, and the circumstance occurs that beyond the national or ideological claim, this time they unite under a concept that, if it becomes a real alternative, could change the political geometry of Catalonia. At this time, they rely more on cautious and transversal pressure, away from the traditional and politicized municipal associations, than on a concrete and quantifiable alternative. But we must be attentive to this movement and its consequences.

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