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Spain must find third way on Catalonia: UK daily

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Spain must find third way on Catalonia: UK daily
The President of Catalonia Artur Mas (left) and the Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy. File photo: AFP
12:36 CEST+02:00
Spain must urgently find a third way between an independent nation of Catalonia and the status quo, influential UK business daily the Financial Times said in an editorial published on Monday.

Spain was emerging from its financial crisis but now had to tackle the issue of Catalonia, the Financial Times (FT) said in its tough-talking editorial.

Nearly half of all people in the region of Spain favour separating from the rest of Spain, with many believing the region of 7.5 million people would be better off as an independent nation.

Much of the impetus for this independence push comes from a feeling that the region has contributed more than its fair share of tax revenues to state coffers in Madrid during the country's long economic crisis, the FT argued.

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The tension went up several notches in 2013 when major political parties in Catalonia launched an independence bid with Artur Mas, President of Catalonia, saying a non-binding vote on the issue of self-rule would be held in 2014. 

On April 9th, Spain's government in Madrid said such a vote was illegal and said it could not go ahead. But Mas has vowed to push ahead with the vote.    

The FT says Spain must now avert a "head-on collision" by forging a new fiscal settlement with the region, balancing the budgetary needs of Spain with financial requirements of Catalonia.

"Rajoy must shake off any illusion he may have that the strength of feeling in Catalonia will fade once the economy strengthens," the FT warned.

"Catalans’ desire for independence is not some passing political whim."

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