25 November 2012

SPAIN / CATALONIA / EU : 26 Nov UPDATE: Barcelona Votes, Sends Mixed Message To Mas; Murky Prelude To Madrid Departure.

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      Rich powerful Catalonia voted in a snap election...and delivered a bitter mixed message to its top local pol and recent independence enthusiast...Artur Mas.
     With a high voter turnout of about 68%...10% more than 2 years ago...voters forced Mas to make a deal with other parties to go forward with separation from Madrid's control.
     His party actually lost 12 seats...and he did not get a clear separation mandate.
     Pro-independence parties combined...won only 1 more seat!
     Mas has vowed to hold a referendum on independence in the next 2 years...if he can form a separatist coalition.
      On Saturday, Mas told a cheering crowd: 'We are not vassals of the state.'
      Catalonians contend that they pay Madrid more monies...16 bn euros/$20 bn...than they receive in services.
      Mas' attempt to extract more concessions and taxing powers from Madrid have failed.
      Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy desperately needs Barcelona to remain united with Madrid...as Spain tries to solve its immense housing and banking crisis.
       Catalonia produces more than 20% of Spain's economic output...and has 16% of the population.
      If it achieves independence...there are issues whether it could join the EU or even adopt the euro...especially with a certain 'no' vote from Spain.
      EU President Juan Manuel Barroso also says a breakaway Catalan state would have to get in line behind other applicants.