What is Tabarnia?


In the past few weeks, Tabarnia has become a buzz word in Barcelona and throughout the rest of Spain. In the wake of the recent Catalan independence referendum and the resulting discontent, Tabarnia developed as a political movement operating under the slogan “Barcelona is not Catalonia.” But what exactly is Tabarnia and what does it advocate for? Here’s an introduction to Tabarnia, a growing policial project in Barcelona.

Related article: The Current State of Catalan Politics

The Movement

Photo by Derek Giovanni Photography via Visualhunt

Barcelona is not Catalonia, also known as the Platform for the Autonomy of Barcelona, is an organization of citizens that advocate for their own political and economic control of Barcelona outside of the authority of the Generalitat of Catalonia. Their idea is to create another autonomous community within Spain called Tabarnia that would consist of Barcelona and Tarragona as a community separate from Catalonia. This new community would decide to remain part of Spain in the result of Catalan independence should it occur.

The idea was originally developed back in 2011, but following the recent Catalan regional elections on the 21st of December 2017, was brought to light again alongside the election results shown on a map of Catalonia. While much of the map is blue (pro-independence) Barcelona and Tarragona are clearly shown in red (pro-union). Following the results, the search term Tabarnia went viral on the 26th of December 2017, provoking a renewed interest in the cause.

Related article: Why Some Catalans Want Independence


Tabarnia supporters want to use the platform as a way to distance themselves from the separatist movement in Catalonia. They claim that electoral representation in Catalonia is unfair- In Barcelona, 48.5 votes are needed to elect a representative in the Catalan parliament compared to the 20.9 votes required in Lleida, for example. They argue that this results in unfair and slanted representation in the Catalan parliament. Due to this unfair representation, they argue that there is an economic favoriting of other regions as well, reminding us of the same claims that the pro-independence separatists make towards the Spanish government.

Reaction and Controversy

While some believe that the Tabarnia project is just a satirical response to Catalan independence, using the separatists’ own logic against them, others believe that it’s the beginning of a movement for the creation of a new autonomous community in line with what the citizens in Barcelona and Tarragona want.

Either way, it’s impossible to ignore the tension that the Tabarnia movement has created between separatists and unionists, forcing separatists to contradict their very own claims when it comes to political and economic representation.

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*Main photo by Almusaiti via Visualhunt

About the author

Rachel G

Originally from the United States, Rachel has been living in Spain since 2014. After two years in Madrid, she moved to Barcelona in 2016 to pursue her passions in writing and photography. She spends her free time enjoying life in beautiful Barcelona and traveling around Europe as much as possible.