diumenge, de setembre 23, 2012

STARS AND STRIPES, 22 september 2012

Spanish region of Catalonia says it may proclaim independence By Sinikka Tarvainen Deutsche Presse-Agentur Published: September 22, 2012 BARCELONA -- Catalonia may proclaim independence from Spain after the next regional election, a local official said Friday, in an apparent open challenge to the national government. The north-western region has taken "a road of no return" toward independence, Catalonia spokesman Francesc Homs said. The possible mechanisms to achieve it included a referendum or a unilateral proclamation of independence by the regional parliament after the election, he said. Advertisement "The process that is being opened is not for the impatient," he said. Madrid has refused even to grant greater financial powers to Catalonia, which already enjoys a large degree of autonomy. Homs made the comments after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, in a meeting with Catalan premier Artur Mas on Thursday, refused a request for the region to handle its own taxes. The meeting was followed by widespread speculation that Mas could call early elections in the autumn, two years ahead of schedule. Alicia Sanchez-Camacho, the Catalan representative of Rajoy's conservative People's Party, warned Mas that calling elections which acted as a vote on independence would be illegal. Spain's deep economic crisis has fuelled separatism in the formerly affluent region, where many of its 7.5 million residents believe they would be better off without transferring part of its tax revenue to the country's poorer regions. Hundreds of thousands of people recently attended a pro-independence rally backed by the regional government.