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Families divided over Catalan independence

Relatives on opposing sides of the debate are feeling the strain

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Families divided over Catalan independence

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Catalonia’s independence referendum has long dominated conversation in the wealthy northeastern region of Spain.

And with emotions running high on both sides of the debate, some families are feeling the strain.

Xavi Oliveres and his cousin Francesc are on opposing sides of the argument. Yet they and their wives can put their differences to one side to enjoy lunch together.

“I am voting ‘no’ because I think independence is not the solution,” Xavi said.

“We have too many problems in the country and in the world to be separating from each other.”

Francesc though says he is voting ‘yes’.

Independence “is not a panacea,” he admits, “but I think it is the solution to the problem that we have had between Spain and Catalonia since the ‘Transition’ (to democracy)”.



While Xavi and his wife Cristina support holding a referendum, they are the only members of their extended family to oppose independence from Spain.

They usually try to avoid talking about politics – relations have broken down in some families over the issue. Fortunately, for them, this is not the case.

“We are lucky that in our family there is respect and this has meant no division,” Cristina said.

“But I think in other families, depending on the people, it could happen.”

“We debate, there are different opinions,” said Francesc’s wife Merce.

“Normally one tries to convince the other and it ends up in a stalemate because everyone sticks to their position.”

Cristina Giner, Euronews correspondent in Tarragona, Catalonia, says:

“The vast majority of Catalans want a referendum. As for independence, the population is divided. In the last polls, almost 50 percent were against it. Just over 41 percent were in favour.”