A declaration of independence could possibly leave the Catalan economy in shambles as many of the region’s leading financial and industrial sectors might permanently leave the area, Roberto Duran, said.
He warned that even though the Spanish economy will certainly survive Catalonia’s breakaway, its economic impact would still be felt both in the region and the rest of the country.
“Barcelona is a major financial enter in the Mediterranean. It can be compared to London. The city is very important for the national economy and this is why some financial organizations, seriously worried about [the region’s possible] secession, are already moving their assets to Madrid, San Sebastian and Murcia,” professor Duran said.
The central government in Madrid has approved a bill facilitating companies’ relocation from Catalonia to elsewhere in the country.
Professor Duran mentioned the “three whales” the Spanish economy rests on. The southern regions, with their developed agriculture ensure the country’s privileged status in the EU.
The Basque Country accounts for two-thirds of the national economy, while Catalonia is famous for its “very important” economic activity.
“The problem is how Catalonia is going to deal with its 12 percent unemployment and nine percent economically passive population without large foreign investments. If Catalonia becomes independent it will face hard times in the coming years,” Duran warned.
The EU is equally “alarmed” by the rise of secessionist sentiment in Catalonia, which Brussels fears could have a domino effect on other parts of Europe where nationalist and separatist feelings are strong.
“In the next 15 years the EU will have to decide what to do with all this and this is why it supports Madrid,” Roberto Duran concluded.
On October 10, in a bid to avoid a showdown with Madrid, Puigdemont proposed the suspension of a declaration of independence to allow for negotiations to resolve the crisis.
Addressing the Catalan parliament, Puigdemont said that even though the October 1st plebiscite had given his government a mandate to establish a sovereign state, he would not immediately push ahead with the region’s independence from Spain.