Catalan Independence | DailyForex
The Catalan region of Spain borders France. It is very prosperous and has its own language. It is governed by a devolved parliament whilst being a part of the nation of Spain. For a long time, there has been a nationalist movement in Catalonia which seeks independence from Spain, but wishes to remain within the EU. This faction took power in the devolved assembly in 2015.
The long-standing wishes of Catalan nationalists for secession but continued EU membership led the Spanish government to signal that Spain would not automatically accept that an independent Scotland could join the EU during the referendum on Scottish independence from the UK. In the event, Scottish independence was rejected by the electorate.
The Catalan government recently held a vote on independence (Sunday 1st October) where 90% of those voting supported an independent Catalonia. The referendum was highly contentious and was conducted despite a court order from the Spanish judiciary not to hold it. The demand from the Spanish authorities was that the vote should be ignored and as such, turnout was estimated to be 43% with substantial claims of voting irregularities where the ballot was held. The vote took place despite (national) police action to prevent it that led to ugly scenes and injuries to both the police and public alike. The Spanish authorities have denounced the vote as unconstitutional and vowed not to recognise it.
There have been massive demonstrations in the regional capital, Barcelona, in favour of remaining as a part of Spain. The leader of the Catalan government, Carles Puigdemont, had vowed to declare unilateral independence within 48 hours of the vote, but this pledge was not honoured. He is scheduled to make a statement today in the Catalan parliament.
Reaction to the vote elsewhere has been muted with most viewing it as a wholly Spanish matter. However, the French government has declared that it would not recognise an independent Catalonia which would bar it from EU membership. Some businesses within the region have been quick to announce that if the region declares independence they will relocate their head offices to elsewhere in Spain.
The Spanish government has stated that it has the power to suspend the devolved government in Catalonia, if needed, and impose direct rule from Madrid.