BERLIN/MADRID (Own report) – The escalating Catalan secessionist conflict is upsetting Spain, a country hard hit by Berlin’s austerity dictate. Spain – occasionally praised in German media as a showcase for an alleged successful austerity policy – is still confronted with enormous social and economic problems, in spite of a modest economic growth. Unemployment and poverty remain at high levels. Crisis policies over the past few years have also increased the economic gap between Spain and the euro zone’s centers of prosperity. One still cannot speak of debt reduction – the official objective of Germany’s austerity policy within the EU. The poor economic situation, the high debt burden level and the distribution of federal and regional debts are fueling Catalonia’s secessionist conflict.