Catalan crisis ‘probably cost Spain around 1bn euros’

4 Jan 18

The Catalan independence crisis has likely cost Spain a billion euros, according to the country’s economy minister.

Luis de Guindos told Spanish radio that the turmoil has caused the region’s growth to slow down and has hit the eurozone’s fourth biggest economy as a whole.

The region’s growth accounts for around one-fifth of Spanish gross domestic product.

Growth reduced from 0.9% to 0.4% in the last quarter, the economy minister said.

He said: “Catalonia used to have growth above that of Spain, it was one of the drivers of the Spanish economy. However, in the fourth quarter, it’s become a burden.”

He added that the crisis could “easily have cost a billion euros”.

Turmoil broke out during the independence referendum in Catalonia on 1 October last year, where 2 million people defied the courts and governments and voted for independence.

The vote was ruled illegal because the regional law, known as the ‘self-determination referendum law’, was not backed by the Spanish constitution.

Spain cut its growth forecasts for 2018 in October to 2.3% instead of the 2.6% previously predicted.

Following the unrest, some 3,100 firms have moved their headquarters elsewhere.

The Spanish government dissolved the regional parliament and called a snap election last month, but it failed to provide a decisive result, with separatist groups winning 70 of 135 seats in parliament.

A pro-unity party won the most seats, while the Ciudadanos (Citizens) party won the popular vote. A government is yet to be formed.

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