In its latest move to stop an October 1 independence referendum, the Spanish Government is Poised to Seize Catalan Finances.
Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro said a mechanism had been approved for the state to take control of the autonomous region’s finances. Madrid is seeking to stop the Catalan government spending public money on its planned independence referendum.
If the deadline is not met, the central government will take over the funding of most essential public services in the region, Mr. Montoro said.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont launched his campaign for a “Yes” vote on Thursday night in the town of Tarragona, telling a rally at a former bullring: “Vote, and in so doing bring light to darkness that has lasted for too many years.” The crowd shouted back, “Independence”, “We will vote” and “We’re not afraid”, AFP news agency reports.
Public finances are a particularly sore point for Catalans who for years have contributed more to the state budget than they get back in spending on public services.
More than 700 Catalan mayors who have agreed to help stage the referendum now face criminal investigation and police have been ordered by Spanish prosecutors to seize ballot boxes, election flyers and any other item that could be used in the referendum.
The separatists have promised to declare independence within days if, as expected, the Yes vote prevails at the referendum.
Spanish Government Rejects Dialog Request
The Telegraph reports Spain threatens to cut funding for Catalonia over the independence referendum.
The Spanish government on Friday dismissed a letter from Catalan leaders offering talks over their looming independence referendum as “a trap”, and announced it would intervene in Catalonia’s finances to ensure that “not one euro” of public money was used to fund the “illegal” vote.
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