Status of high stakes Spain-Catalonia standoff

Trevor Jackson
Октября 10, 2017

"Given the negative implications of independence for economic activity in Catalonia due to its likely exclusion from the European Union and euro area, we think the likelihood of independence is very low", a note from JP Morgan analysts read today.

The worst political crisis to hit Spain in decades continued to rage Monday, but there were glimmers of hope, after a weekend of mass protests calling for unity within the country and hints that Catalan separatists will stop short of pushing the situation to the brink.

Catalan authorities say the "Yes" side won the referendum with 90 percent of the vote.

Thousands of people are shutting down streets in one of Europe's biggest cities, marching with their hands painted white.

Some protesters called for Puigdemont to go to jail for holding the independence vote. However, there is a belief that breaking away is a long shot.

Catalan independence would not enjoy global recognition, France's minister for European affairs said Monday as the Spanish region's leader threatens to announce a split.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he was determined to prevent a breakaway by the northeastern province, which is the powerhouse of the Spanish economy, in the wake of a banned referendum on October 1.

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Scottish National Party politicians have told BuzzFeed News that they would like Nicola Sturgeon's Scottish government to formally recognise a unilateral declaration of independence from Catalonia, which could come in the next few days. Puigdemont himself hinted at the declaration Sunday night to Catalan TV3, but he remained vague.

Article 155 of Spain's constitution says that if a region's government breaches its constitutional obligations or "acts in a way that seriously threatens the general interest of Spain", Madrid can "take necessary measures to oblige it forcibly to comply or to protect said general interest".

"I don't rule out anything", Rajoy said in an interview with the daily newspaper El Pais published October, 8 when asked about applying the constitutional provision that allows the suspension of autonomy and the imposition of direct rule from Madrid.

Weighing against that is the decision of several large businesses, including Catalonia's top two banks, to pull out of the region amid the uncertainty over its future.

That raises the prospect of Spanish police arresting Puigdemont and other separatist leaders if they declare independence. Millions of people have voted, who want to decide.

Three of the four main parties in the Spanish parliament have clearly stated their support for whatever the Spanish government needs to do to maintain law in the face of the declaration, which could mean suspending the region's autonomy.

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