The Peterson Institute held a debate on September 9, 2015, on the political economy of Catalonian independence, ahead of the plebiscite there in late September, and in the broader context of secessionist movements in Scotland, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe. Roger Albinyana, Catalonia’s secretary of foreign affairs, presented his case for Catalan self-determination, and the potential political and economic scenarios that could follow. Institute Senior Fellow Ángel Ubide assessed the economic disadvantages of such secession from Spain.
Albinyana has served as secretary of foreign and European Union affairs for the government of Catalonia since 2013. From 2011 to 2013, he was director of the program to support the Union for the Mediterranean of the Government of Catalonia. During 2008 to 2010, he was director of the Catalan Fundació Cercle d'Estudis Sobiranistes. He has been a supporter of the Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya party since 1997, as well as a member of its National Executive Committee since 2012 and coordinator for international relations since 2011. Between 2004 and 2008, he was president of the European Liberal Youth and a member of the Bureau of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) party.
Ángel Ubide has been a senior fellow since 2014 and affiliated with the Institute since 2010. He previously worked for a decade and a half in the hedge fund industry, first at Tudor Investment Corporation, and then at D. E. Shaw Group. He has been involved in the global economic policy debate as a member of the Steering Committee of the Euro50 Group, as board member of the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee, as a founding member (2002–12) of the European Central Bank's Shadow Governing Council, and as associate fellow at the Center for European Policy Studies. He started his career as an economist at the International Monetary Fund and as an associate at McKinsey & Company.