Could an independent Catalonia stay in the EU?

Banco Sabadell relocates outside of Catalonia

Banco Sabadell relocates outside of Catalonia

October 8: Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has insisted that his government will do everything in its power, including invoking Article 155 of the Constitution, to stop the Catalan Government declaring independence from the country.

On Wednesday, the Spanish government rejected Puigdemont's calls for mediation, and Spain's deputy prime minister said Catalonia would have to end its push for independence before talks can begin.

"The government will resist the situation, when any declaration of [Catalonia's] independence would have any results", Rajoy said in an interview with El Pais newspaper published on Saturday.

Many in the crowd forming in a central square are carrying Spanish and Catalan flags.

Catalan's separatist leaders pushing for the region's independence will come under more pressure on Sunday when thousands of people plan to take to the streets of Barcelona to demand the secessionists shelve their plans.

Some of Catalonia's biggest businesses began taking steps to transfer their registered headquarters to other cities in Spain.

Aparici said the motivation for Catalonia's separatists has always been gaining greater fiscal autonomy.

Tens of thousands of Spanish unionists are protesting against Catalonian independence as tensions rise between the state and federal government.

"It's reached a turning point and we need to get actively involved in the defence of Spain's values as a nation", added 52-year-old Joaquin Penas, an off-duty cavalry colonel with a Spanish flag draped round his shoulders.

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According to local authorities, in support of independence have voted more than 90% of voters, but the turnout was only 43%. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, meanwhile, refused to recognize the fact that a referendum took place as well as its results.

There is speculation that the parliament will declare independence unilaterally at its next sitting, based on the referendum.

This led to accusations of hypocrisy voiced against the European Union, with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic saying: "How come that in the case of Catalonia the referendum on independence is not valid, while in the case of Kosovo, secession [from Serbia in 2008] is allowed even without a referendum?" .

Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia's president, right, and Oriol Junqueras, leader of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, join a rally calling for independence prior to the referendum.

The wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia, with its own language and culture, held a referendum on October 1 on independence, in defiance of the Spanish constitutional court which had ruled the vote illegal.

Earlier, thousands of people rallied across the country for Spanish unity. "I can tell you with absolute frankness that it will not happen", Rajoy said.

Mr Rajoy added the government would "prevent any declaration of independence from materialising in anything".

The show of force by pro-union groups comes a week after the Catalan government went ahead and held a referendum on secession that Spain's top court had suspended and the Spanish government said was illegal.

"People of peace that are here, we don't want war, we don't want conflict with Catalonia".

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