Political crisis takes its toll on Catalonia's economy

Jerome Frank
October 10, 2017

But Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has announced an important speech for Tuesday evening, in which an independence declaration is likely. They expressed concerned that the leadership of the wealthy northeastern region will decide to leave Spain within days. It said its priority was to protect "clients, shareholders and employees" given the current political and social situation.

And Pablo Casado, a spokesman for the Popular Party, warned that if history repeats itself, then Puigdemont could "end up" like the region's former leader, Lluis Companys, media reports said.

Socialist party leader Pedro Sanchez says that "a unilateral declaration of independence doesn't have a place in a state ruled by law".

European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said the crisis following the banned October 1 referendum had to be resolved through dialogue within Spain, BBC reported.

About 10 companies have made a decision to relocate their legal headquarters from Catalonia to other places in Spain over fears of an unilateral declaration of independence, local media reported on Saturday. "If tension persists, it could affect investments and tourism, slowing GDP growth more than we already forecast", he said in a note to clients.

The minister also reiterated Brussels' warning that an independent Catalonia would "automatically" be out of the European Union and have to reapply to join.

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Spain called the referendum illegal and police in riot gear moved in on the day of the vote to try to forcibly shut it down, firing rubber bullets at unarmed protesters.

Around 350,000 people attended the demonstration, according to local police, and 950,000, according to the organizers.

Despite the outrage, Rajoy and Spanish King Felipe VI defended the police and doubled down on their stance to take whatever measures necessary to keep Catalonia from seceding.

Regional president Carles Puigdemont said the vote justified secession and separatists urged him to declare independence in defiance of the central government and national courts.

Rajoy told Die Welt in its Monday edition that "Spain will not be divided and the national unity will be preserved. We will do everything that legislation allows us to ensure this", Rajoy told the newspaper. "I believe we know what Spaniards think, and they should know that the government, too, is clear about what it has to do", he said.

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy could suspend the existing autonomous status that Catalonia enjoys under the country's system of regional governments. "I think the way they've conducted themselves, the Catalonian people, the work they put in, if independent is declared, yes we should recognise it and support it as well".

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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