Barcelona mayor Ada Co­lau warns against Cat­alo­nia’s secession from Spain

AHEAD OF A POS­SI­BLE DEC­LA­RA­TION OF IN­DE­PEN­DENCE BY CAT­ALO­NIA’S RE­GIONAL GOVERN­MENT, BARCELONA’S MAYOR HAS URGED BOTH SIDES TO RE­SOLVE THE IM­PASSE. CAT­ALO­NIA IS FEEL­ING THE ECO­NOMIC PAINS OF ITS DRIVE FOR IN­DE­PEN­DENCE

The Daily News Egypt - - International -

DW—The mayor of Barcelona,Ada Co­lau, spoke out on Mon­day against a uni­lat­eral dec­la­ra­tion of in­de­pen­dence by the Cat­alo­nian re­gional govern­ment, warn­ing that it would put “so­cial co­he­sion” at risk.

The re­sults from the Cata­lan in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum “can­not be an en­dorse­ment to pro­claim in­de­pen­dence but they con­sti­tute the pos­si­bil­ity of open­ing a di­a­logue and in­ter­na­tional me­di­a­tion,” Barcelona’s pop­u­lar mayor said.

But de­spite com­ing out against in­de­pen­dence, Co­lau ac­cused Span­ish Prime Min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy of be­ing the “main cul­prit” in what she de­scribed as “the most se­vere in­sti­tu­tional cri­sis since the re-estab­lish­ment of democ­racy in Spain.”

She said the Span­ish prime min­is­ter had only in­flamed ten­sions by threat­en­ing to use a con­sti­tu­tional clause that would al­low Madrid to im­pose con­trol over Cat­alo­nia’s oth­er­wise au­ton­o­mous gov­ern­ing in­sti­tu­tions.

“Don’t take any de­ci­sion that would dy­na­mite the space for di­a­logue and me­di­a­tion,” Co­lau said in a pub­lic ad­dress di­rected both at Ra­joy and Cat­alo­nia’s re­gional pres­i­dent Car­les Puigde­mont.“That’s the bravest thing that you can do at this mo­ment.”

Puigde­mont is due to ad­dress the re­gional par­lia­ment at 6.00pm local time on Tues­day (1600 UTC), where he may uni­lat­er­ally de­clare in­de­pen­dence for the north­east­ern Span­ish re­gion in de­fi­ance of the Span­ish cen­tral govern­ment and na­tional courts. The Cata­lan par­lia­ment is then ex­pected to vote on the mo­tion, with Madrid wor­ried it will vote in favour of the in­de­pen­dence dec­la­ra­tion.

Pres­sure on Cata­lan leader mount­ing

Puigde­mont, how­ever, has come un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure at home and abroad to re­frain from declar­ing in­de­pen­dence. Ra­joy has al­ready threat­ened to de­prive Cat­alo­nia of its au­ton­o­mous sta­tus, while Euro­pean lead­ers have al­most unan­i­mously re­fused to recog­nise Cat­alo­nia as an in­de­pen­dent coun­try.

A po­ten­tial Cata­lan secession from Spain would also have ma­jor eco­nomic ram­i­fi­ca­tions. Sev­eral ma­jor banks have al­ready an­nounced plans to move their head­quar­ters out of Cat­alo­nia. On Mon­day, mo­tor­way op­er­a­tor Aber­tis said it would move its main of­fices from Barcelona to Madrid.

Spain would also suf­fer eco­nom­i­cally from Cata­lan secession, with the re­gion ac­count­ing for around a fifth of Spain’s eco­nomic out­put and more than a quar­ter of ex­ports.

The Cata­lan in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum saw 90 per­cent of vot­ers come out in fa­vor of in­de­pen­dence of Spain, though turnout was only around 43 per­cent, with many op­po­nents choos­ing to boy­cott the vote. Madrid had also de­clared the ref­er­en­dum as il­le­gal.

Around 900 peo­ple were in­jured on polling day, as Span­ish author­i­ties dis­rupted the “out­lawed” vote by fir­ing rub­ber bul­lets and storm­ing crowds.

Cat­alo­nia’s tar­tan al­lies

Puigde­mont does have one ally in Europe, how­ever, as the Scot­tish Na­tional Party (SNP) unan­i­mous­ly­passed a res­o­lu­tion dur­ing its party conference on Mon­day declar­ing the Cata­lan ref­er­en­dum an “ex­pres­sion of the demo­cratic will of the peo­ple of Cat­alo­nia.”

The party, which it­self ad­vo­cates for Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence from the United King­dom, called on the UN and the EU to re­solve the po­lit­i­cal im­passe over the Cata­lan ref­er­en­dum.

Scot­tish lead­ers de­cried the scenes of vi­o­lence dur­ing the vote, with one SNP law­maker who was in Cat­alo­nia on vot­ing day, Joanna Cherry, say­ing she had wit­nessed “re­pres­sion on a scale I never ex­pected to see in a Western Euro­pean democ­racy.”

The Scot­tish party paid trib­ute to “the pa­tient, de­ter­mined and non­vi­o­lent be­hav­iour of the vot­ers of Cat­alo­nia” and stressed their sup­port for the right to self-de­ter­mi­na­tion.

The ‘Banco Sabadell’, the fifth-largest bank­ing group in Spain, has an­nounced plans to re­lo­cate its head­quar­ters from Cat­alo­nia

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