One million Catalans marched for independence on their region’s national day ahead of a proposed referendum that would see them sever ties from Spanish rule.
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The people took to the streets waving banners which read ‘We’re going to be a free country!’ and ‘Full of hope’.
But the Spanish government has gone through the courts to try to block the October 1st referendum, claiming it is illegal – there are fears this could escalate into violence when voting day comes around.
If Catalonia broke away, Spain would lose 6% of its territory and 16% of its population, a fifth of its economic output, a quarter of exports and more than half of new startup investment in 2016 – this would also be a big loss for the EU.
The head of Catalonia’s regional government, Carles Puigdemont, said: “It’s not an option that the referendum won’t go ahead. It’s twenty days away and we’ve already overcome many hurdles.”
Right across the continent we’re seeing independence movements gathering momentum. Catalonia would be a big loss for Spain, but it would also be another nail in the coffin for the EU.