The Catalan crisis has cost “a billion euros”, declares the Spanish Minister of the Economy


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Spain’s Economy Minister said on Monday that the crisis of Catalan independence had cost the country “a billion” euros as the fallout from the turmoil continued to hamper growth in the wealthy region.

Luis de Guindos said slowing growth in Catalonia, which accounts for around one-fifth of Spain’s GDP, was hampering the euro area’s fourth-largest economy as a whole.

“Catalonia had higher growth than Spain, it was one of the engines of the Spanish economy,” he told Spanish radio.

“However, in the fourth quarter it became a burden.”

De Guindos estimated that the crisis could “easily have cost a billion euros”.

Referendum prohibited

Spain was plunged into its deepest political crisis in decades when separatists in Catalonia’s regional government declared independence in October following a banned referendum on the subject.

Led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Madrid invoked powers under the Spanish constitution to suspend the autonomy dear to the region, dismiss its government and parliament and call new regional elections in an attempt to stop the secession campaign .

But the separatist parties won the most seats in the December 21 vote, and with the Catalan question likely to linger until 2018, there are fears that the crisis could hamper Spain’s recovery from the financial crisis in 2007-2008.

More than 3,100 companies have already moved their headquarters from Catalonia, including major banks and retail companies.

De Guindos blamed “the enormous uncertainty, worry and loss of confidence generated by the previous (Catalan) government”.



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