Madrid Rejects Dialogue with Catalonia
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont was given until Monday to clarify whether he’ll formally declare independence or not.
Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy rejected his call for dialogue between what he called “democratic law and disobedience (sic)”.
On Thursday, he began the process of invoking Article 155 of Spain’s constitution, revoking Catalan autonomy. “It’s Puigdemont’s response which will mark the coming days,” he said. “I hope he gets his answer right.”
Thousands of national police, civil guards and military troops are poised to take control of the region, perhaps ousting its government and arresting its secessionist leadership.
On Thursday, Spain’s national day, thousands of anti-secessionists rallied in Barcelona, likely staged by Madrid, pressuring Puigdemont not to formally declare independence as expected.
Right-wing gangs clashed with Catalans before police intervened to restore order. Puigdemont accused Rajoy of ignoring his calls for dialogue.
“We ask for dialogue and the response is to put article 155 on the table,” he tweeted.
Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras tweeted: “A sincere dialogue is what the international community wants and what Catalonia expects, not confrontation and new threats.”
Business is applying its own pressure against secession in cahoots with Madrid. Ahead of the October 1 referendum, Spanish law was changed to facilitate their moving elsewhere in the country.
Banco Sabadell and CaizaBank moved to Alicante and Valencia – to protect their customers and shareholders, they claimed, along with not wanting to be located outside the EU.
Gas Natural Fenosa, telecommunications company Eurona, Abertis Infraestructuras, Cellnex Telecom, real-estate company Inmobiliaria Colonial, and Dogi International Fabrics are relocating to Madrid.
Other companies may follow them. Catalonia is Spain’s most prosperous region, accounting for 30% of Spain’s GDP despite little more than 6% of its population.
Around 7,100 multinational firms have offices there. If enough relocate elsewhere, its economy will suffer. Unemployment will rise. The region’s standard of living will decline.
Catalans overwhelmingly want independence. Puigdemont said the relationship with Madrid doesn’t work.
If he formally declares independence as expected, maybe next week, Madrid-instigated violence and chaos could follow.
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