Spain Pumps the Brakes on Catalonia's Independence Drive

Sep 26, 2017 | 09:00 GMT

The Spanish central government is using legal, political and economic means to block an independence referendum in Catalonia.

Students gather at the historical headquarters of the University of Barcelona during a pro-referendum demonstration on Sept. 22, 2017, in Barcelona, Spain. The country's central government has dealt a serious blow to Catalonia's plans to hold an independence vote, but Madrid faces growing indignation in the region.

(LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)


  • Madrid's strategy to deal with secessionist moves in Catalonia has so far focused on using legal, economic and political means to disrupt the organization of the Oct. 1 referendum.
  • After Oct. 1, the Spanish government will offer more investment and financing for Catalonia, but Madrid is unlikely to authorize a legal referendum. 
  • Catalonia is unlikely to secede from Spain in the coming months, but independence sentiments will continue to shape the region's relations with the central government.

Tensions remain high between the Spanish government and the regional government in Catalonia. Madrid insists that the referendum on Catalan independence, scheduled for Oct. 1, is illegal and will not take place. The Catalan government has promised that the vote will go on as planned. While the region is unlikely to secede from Spain in the short run, independence sentiments will not go away soon. So far, Madrid's strategy has focused on trying to disrupt the vote. But it eventually will be forced to develop a deeper strategy for the rebellious region....

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