The Spanish government decided to reach back into its history and borrow from the playbook of longtime Spanish fascist dictator Francisco Franco in dealing with Catalonia’s decision to declare independence from the Spanish Kingdom as the Republic of Catalonia. The Catalan government’s decision to declare independence followed an October 1 referendum in the region that resulted in a “yes” for independence. Continue reading →
Rajoy to take direct control of Catalonia using Article 155
‘All roads lead to new elections’ in region: Teneo’s Barroso
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will deploy the Spanish government’s most wide-ranging constitutional powers for the first time in the country’s history as he seeks to land a decisive blow on the Catalan separatist movement.
Spanish stocks and bonds dropped as Rajoy’s government said it will move forward with the process of suspending the powers of the Catalan administration after regional President Carles Puigdemont refused to shelve his claim to independence.
BERLIN (Own report) – In light of the drastic warnings of the EU’s possible disintegration, Berlin seeks to prevent the formation of contending forces. “The European Union is drifting apart to an extent hardly imaginable 15 years ago,” according to a recent analysis, written by a board member of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). The “dividing lines” between the north and the impoverishing south, as well as between western and eastern EU member countries are disquieting. To prevent the formation of a southern European bloc opposing the German austerity dictate, Berlin is particularly trying to integrate France into its EU policy. Yesterday, the German chancellor sought closer cooperation with the Czech Republic and Slovakia, to undermine an alliance of the Visegrád members against German predominance. At the same time, promotion of the EU has been intensified within Germany. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel explained how Germany ultimately profits from its net contributions to the EU budget: The success of German exports depends on “the people in the other EU countries” being able “to afford” German products – with the help of Brussels’ subsidies. Continue reading →
Separatists on Sunday won a clear majority of seats in Catalonia’s parliament in an election that sets the region on a collision course with Spain’s central government over independence.
“Catalans have voted yes to independence,” acting regional government head Artur Mas told supporters, with secessionist parties securing 72 out of 135 seats in the powerful region of 7.5 million people that includes Barcelona.
The strong pro-independence showing dealt a blow to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, three months before a national election. His center-right government, which has opposed attempts to hold a referendum on secession, has called the separatist plan “a nonsense” and vowed to block it in court. Continue reading →
Spain’s property slump will deepen for much of the next decade, and tracts of buildings along the Mediterannean coast will have to be demolished, the country’s top consultants have warned.
“The market is broken,” said Fernando Rodríguez de Acuña, the group’s vice-president. “We calculate that there are almost 2m properties waiting to be sold. We have made no progress at all over the past five years in clearing the stock,” he said.
“There are 800,000 used homes on the market. Developers are sitting on a further 700,00 completed units. Another 300,000 have been foreclosed and 150,000 are in foreclosure proceedings, and there are another 250,000 still under construction. It’s crazy.”
“This year is going to be a bad one,” said Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in a press conference. He reaffirmed the previous forecast of a 1.7 percent shrink in GDP in 2012. The country forecast 24.3 percent unemployment in March, and Spainiards under 25 have a 52 percent unemployment rate.
Rajoy has cut government programs and raised taxes to combat the deficit, leading to protests.
Spain is the fourth and largest country in the euro zone to accept financial assistance, joining Greece, Ireland and Portugal. Rajoy stressed that the aid was limited to the country’s banks, which have been weighed down by the global recession and toxic real estate holdings, and avoided the term “bailout.”