Since Catalonia’s regional government announced it plans to hold an independence referendum in September, tensions with the central government in Madrid have been rising:
Catalan leaders have said they would declare independence within 48 hours of a vote to break away from Spain, regardless of turnout.
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has dismissed the plan as an “authoritarian delusion”.
Defense Minister María Dolores de Cospedal has warned that the armed forces are tasked not only with “protecting the values of democracy and the Constitution, but also the integrity and sovereignty” of Spain.
Spain’s Constitutional Court has blocked the €5.8 million the Catalan government had set aside to pay for the referendum.
Catalonia is in the process of separating its tax agency from Spain’s in case the region does decide to secede. Read more
Sánchez Makes Good on Promise to Move Spain’s Socialists to the Left
Both the Catalans and Iraq’s Kurds have announced independence referendums this week over the objections of their central governments.
The two might seem a world away. Catalans have virtually no security concerns. The Kurds are waging a war on two fronts: one against Turkey to the north and another against the self-proclaimed Islamic State to the south.
Spain’s Podemos party has come out in favor of a Catalan independence referendum, making it the first major national party to break with the government of Mariano Rajoy on the issue.
The anti-establishment movement remains opposed to Catalan independence and argues that a referendum should not be legally binding, but the new policy is a win for Catalonia’s separatists all the same.
It’s probably not for them that Podemos has changed their minds, though. Read more
Rajoy’s Attitude Makes Catalan Secession More Likely
Whatever happened to Mariano Rajoy’s willingness to talk?
In February, he offered to hear out Catalan demands for self-government except one: holding a binding independence referendum.
Now instead of sitting down with Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan president, Rajoy has avoided meeting him in Madrid and challenged him to what could only be a fruitless debate in the national parliament. Read more