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Multicatalans or Third country?

Recerca | 06/04/2008

Study on immigration in Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands

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The three Catalan-speaking countries have received very important migratory flows in just a few years. Despite the differences observable between territories, the future challenge is similar: will it be possible to include these contingents (like the previous ones from the 50s-60s) in a single, diverse, productive and united society? Or will there be a new rift, with a third distinct community arising?

Commissioned by the Centre of Contemporary Issues (CETC) among several experts, this study allows us to draw some conclusions. In very few years the 3 Catalan Countries have experienced an influx of 15% foreigners, and despite a centralist and often outdated legislation, for the moment social coexistence has not been threatened. In the case of Catalonia, it should be stressed that communities come from more diverse origins and European flows have less impact than in the other two cases. It is nevertheless the place where integration policies have been more dynamic.

The analysis points out that we stand at a crossroads. On the one hand, we can progress toward countries of marked diversity and economic, demographic or cultural fertility, united in the construction of common objectives and opportunities. This is what we could call the Multicatalan scenario. On the other hand, a serious chasm could open up which would combine with the one experienced (and to a certain extent overcome), since the big waves of inter-Spanish immigration in the mid-20th century. This is what we could call the Third country scenario.

Curiously, it is in Catalonia (with more diverse and culturally more remote immigration), where the first scenario appears to emerge with most strength. The Balearic Islands would fall into an intermediate situation, and in Valencia a more frail social cohesion would point toward the second scenario. It goes without saying that it is still too early to pass judgment, but signs indicate that public policies in each territory will have a determinant role in tipping the balance to one side or the other.

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