Independence the key word as Catalonia campaign starts

Politicians in the Spanish region of Catalonia started campaigning Friday for an election later this month, with the region’s current leader Artur Mas again promising a referendum on whether it should break away from Spain.

Catalonia will hold a snap election on November 25 after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejected Mas’s proposals for greater taxing and spending powers for the rich but also heavily indebted northeastern region.

Mas in September had said the region should hold a referendum on “self-determination”, even if Spain’s central government does not allow it.

Mas has tried, so far without success, to persuade various European Union bodies to support his region’s bid for independence. On Friday, he said he would be in favour of independence even if it meant Catalonia would not be part of the EU.

“If we are sure Catalonia would stay outside the EU, we need to think about whether we should do the referendum,” Mas said.

“I would be in favour of doing it in any case.”

Mas’s nationalist conservative Convergence and Union coalition is seeking an absolute majority. Opinion polls put him close to or above the threshold 68 seats he needs.

Read @ EUBusiness