I'll come back to the Harrogate Agenda in more detail, but for now want to focus on the single issue of raising taxes. Currently in the UK 95% of tax is determined and raised centrally, and as local government has become little more than Whitehall's branch network, it's fair to say that 100% of spending is determined centrally. Harrogate proposes that taxes are determined and collected locally, with a precept being paid over to the national government for those functions such as defence that can only be performed at state level.
In Spain, spending decisions are already largely devolved to the Autonomous Regions (ARs), the Madrid government controlling the spend of only some 18% of all tax raised. But Catalunya wants more - the region wants to raise all taxes itself, and pay a precept to Madrid, rather than Madrid collecting the money and distributing it, as at present.
What's behind this is the same reason that prompted Harrogate's recommendation. Catalunya fears that Madrid is forcing austerity measures on the regions whilst escaping cutting its own budgets, and wants the power to force budget reductions on the national government.
And here we need to question all the assumptions about EU regional policy. In the main, it's been a mechanism for distributing regeneration funding through ERDF and ESF rather than encouraging regional identities; in fact only 2.5% of the budget is devoted to the development of regional identity. Berlaymont would much rather deal with just 27 state governments than the 344 regions represented on the Committee of the Regions. Subsidiarity in Europe is like Localism to Cameron - just a word. The EU is as centralist in reality as any oligarch. In the face of rising nationalism throughout Europe, the EU is actively discouraging any regional independence; both Scotland and Catalunya have been told that independence will put them back at the start, as candidate nations. Barcelona should not look for help from Brussels - it won't get it.