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Catalan Defence Forces

Catalonia FlagCatalan President Carles Puigdemont says an independent Catalonia would need a military, but not everyone agrees. An army and a defence policy would be absolutely essential if Catalonia were independent from Spain." These are the words of pro-separatist Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, who cited the threat of jihadist terrorism, as additional justification for his demands. Its a debate that doesnt leave Catalans indifferent. Among those in favor is Marc Gafarot, an international relations expert. He thinks that Catalonia would have to take its responsibility for defence affairs, with the aim of preserving peace and stability. Gafarot said All 28 EU member states have armies and Catalonia should do the same, noting that having its own defense forces could help the region to achieve international recognition as a sovereign state.

Jordi Armadans, director of the Foundation for Peace, Fundipau, disagrees. He believes that an army is neither essential nor necessary. Catalonia could do things differently. You dont have to copy what is done around the world, he says. Two examples are Costa Rica and Iceland, without a standing army of their own. These are interesting cases that serve as examples to show that not all of us need to have an army. Wars, the arms trade and a nuclear policy are some of the challenges that face a militarised power, he observes. However, its very important to have a good intelligence service and to promote cyber security.

According to Marc Gafarot, if Catalonia were independent from Spain, it should have an army of between 15,000 and 20,000 soldiers.... The navy would have an important weight, given the regions geographical location. The model to follow is that of Denmark, Austria, Ireland or Sweden, he suggests.

James Hasik suggested that " Catalonia has 7.3 million people, with more than $300 billion in GDP. Spending just 1.6% of that on defense provides over $4.5 billion annually, or roughly the budget of Denmark, which has well-regarded and efficient armed forces. Catalonian military plans are more vague, but so far, they emphasize the navy."

And, what about the cost? NATO calls for each country to allocate 2% of its GDP to defence forces, however, few countries in Europe manage that. According to the World Bank, France spends 2.3% of its GDP on military expenditure; United Kingdom, 1.8%; Italy, 1.5%; Germany, 1.2%; Spain, 1.2%; and Denmark, 1.1%.

The two parties that support Catalonias independence, ERC and CUP, questioned Puigdemonts words. According to the first secretary of the Catalan Parliament, Anna Sim (ERC), the time to start this debate is not now; it should wait until the independence process is underway. CUP deputy Gabriela Serra responded to Puigdemont on Twitter: President, it is unethical to use dramatic terror attacks to justify the need for an army. Nothing justifies militarism. Puigdemont responded to both in parliament today, pointing out that Catalonia could have a non-conventional army. However, he observed that the discussion would become essential if the independence process advances.

A majority of Catalans want an independent Catalan State to have defence forces, according to a 31 July 2017 survey commissioned by the Society of Military Studies (SEM). In this regard, 47.2% of respondents want an independent Catalonia to endow itself of defence forces comparable to those of other European countries, while 40.5% are opposed and 12.3 percent of respondents have no opinion or do not response. Regarding the membership of NATO, the figures are even clearer and 53.1% of those surveyed want a Catalan State to be part, while 30.3% are opposite and 16.5 percent do not have Opinion or do not response.

Finally, the most conclusive result of the survey refers to the participation of an independent Catalonia in international peace missions in the event that it had defense forces. At this point, 70.9% of respondents are favorable, while 19.0% do not agree and 10.1% do not respond or have no opinion.







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