Riding on a pro-independence wave across Catalonia, a village in the hills north of Barcelona is making its own stand for the separatist cause.
Gallifa has become the first place in the region to declare that it will no longer pay taxes to Madrid. Instead it says it will pay them to the Catalan tax agency.
The mayor, Jordi Fornas, hopes other local governments and businesses will follow suit.
“The effects are not going to be noticed, for now, because the Catalan government will send to Madrid what we transfer to them,” he said. “We protect Catalan culture in general and Catalonia’s national rights. Having a state of our own will obviously leave us out of the crisis… If we leave the Spanish state behind, we also leave the crisis behind.”
Catalonia actually overspent just like the rest of Spain during the property boom, and is suffering the consequences.
But many residents share the view that Madrid is the origin of the region’s problems and back the move to go it alone.
“If there are more than a few of us, if people and entrepreneurs and other villages join us, we can reach a point where the pressure is strong enough to make the Catalan government change and not send money to the Spanish treasury anymore, and keep that money that in the end is ours,” said villager Joan Font.
But another villager, Enric Bosc, was not so sure, fearing the Spanish government might still interfere:
“It might make them come after us with inspections and other things like that as the authorities usually do. But I am happy we are the first to try,” he said.
Some observers believe that if other towns followed Gallifa’s example, the economic impetus of keeping more cash in Catalan hands would increase the pressure towards secession.
The pro-independence flag with its distinctive star is flying across the region this weekend.