Spain Threatens to Take Control of Catalunya’s Finances

The measure is to ‘guarantee that no euros are spent on illegal activities’, said Spanish Treasury Minister

In a desperate flail the out of touch Madrid Government have snatched at the purse strings of the aspiring Catalan Autonomy.

Vilaweb have reported today that Spain is out to ensure that not a single penny more of public money is spent on the October 1st referendum. In 48 hours, the Spanish government will take over control of Catalonia’s finances in order to “guarantee that no euros are spent on illegal activities,” according to the Spanish treasury minister, Cristobal Montoro. He called the measure a “control of expenses,” but did not deny that it can be considered an actual intervention in Catalonia’s finances. Montoro said that the Spanish government will replace the Catalan one when it comes to paying basic public services and public servants’ salaries. The measure will be enforced in 2 days, if by then Carles Puigdemont’s cabinet hasn’t backed down from its challenge against Spain.

Earlier this week Spain’s King Felipe VI commented for the first time on the political crisis triggered by Catalonia’s plan to hold a referendum on the region’s independence, saying people must respect the country’s constitution, which forbids secession. Speaking at a ceremony to award national culture prizes, Felipe says the constitution “will prevail” against any attempt to break Spain apart. He said Wednesday the rights of all Spaniards will be upheld against “whoever steps outside constitutional and statutory law.”

The Spanish government is trying to stop the planned Oct. 1 ballot through the courts. Pro-independence groups in Catalonia say the vote will go ahead even though the Constitutional Court has suspended it ahead of a ruling on its legality.

Spain’s prime minister has urged the people of Catalonia to refrain from taking part in a planned referendum on the region’s independence that he says is unconstitutional. The pro-independence coalition governing Catalonia says the Oct 1st ballot will go ahead despite a ruling by Spain’s Constitutional Court suspending the vote until judges can rule on its legality. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is fighting to stop the ballot and has appealed to Catalans to ignore calls from independence supporters to turn out.

Rajoy said on Wednesday: “If anyone urges you to go to a polling station, don’t go, because the referendum can’t take place, it would be an absolutely illegal act.”

Spain’s state prosecutor office says he is investigating more than 700 Catalan mayors for cooperating with a referendum on independence that has been suspended by a court, and has ordered police to arrest them if they don’t comply. The pro-independence coalition ruling Catalonia has vowed to hold the vote despite the prohibition and has asked the 947 mayors in the northeastern region to provide facilities for the plebiscite. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government has pledged to stop the referendum and was granted a suspension by the Constitutional Court while judges decide on its legality. On Wednesday, the country’s top prosecutor, Jose Manuel Maza, ordered provincial prosecutors to investigate 712 mayors who have already offered municipal facilities for the Oct 1st vote and the regional Catalan police to arrest them if they don’t show up for testimony.

So despite the hostility and filibuster from the Spanish Government, Catalunya is still set to take the vote to the people on Oct 1st. A positive outcome will mean a declaration of independence within 2 days. Maybe more Scots should follow the events in Catalunya and learn a thing or two about standing firm in the face of Unionist bullying and just doing it anyway. Maybe also if Spain wants to be considered a modern democracy by the international community, it will have to quit the totalitarian rhetoric.

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