Catalonia’s independence would set off Spain’s debt time-bomb.
On Monday El Pais published leaked excerpts from what it claims to be the Catalonian regional government’s road map to independence. The secret document includes a plan for the region to unilaterally break away from Spain should its citizens be prevented from holding a referendum on independence in the fall.
It provoked a fierce backlash from Madrid. “This proposal is an unacceptable attempt to blackmail the state,” Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in a hastily convened press conference. Spain’s defense minister María Dolores de Cospedal likened the plot to a coup d’état. In the meantime, Madrid continues to refuse to even entertain the idea of allowing a referendum on Catalan independence, despite the fact that in just about every survey of the last few years 80% of Catalans, including many unionists, have requested one.
It would mean the loss of 25-30% of Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP), says Spain’s Minister of the Economy, Luis de Guindos. And that’s something the government “will never let happen.”
But Catalonia knows it has a card up its sleeves: its tick-tocking debt bomb…