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Spanish banks suggest they might leave Catalonia if it becomes independent

The Spanish Bank Association (AEB in Spanish) and the Spanish Confederation of Saving Banks (CECA in Spanish) warned about the “risks” of Catalonia’s independence. In an official announcement made this Friday, both associations assured that all banks with a presence in Catalonia “would face severe problems of judicial insecurity” in the event of a Unilateral Declaration of Independence after the 27-S elections. They outlined that “any political decision which would imply breaking the rules in force” would result in “exclusion from the EU and the Eurozone” for Catalonia. The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, described the Spanish government as “being irresponsible” for pushing the banking sector to be against the independence of Catalonia. He regretted that such “a delicate sector” was used as an “artillery weapon”. 

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18 September 2015 07:54 PM

by

ACN / Sara Prim

Barcelona (CNA).- The Spanish banking sector warned that all banks with a presence in Catalonia “would face severe problems of judicial insecurity” in the event of a Unilateral Declaration of Independence after the 27-S elections. “Any political decision which would imply breaking the rules in force” would result in “exclusion from the EU and the Eurozone”, the Spanish Bank Association (AEB in Spanish) and the Spanish Confederation of Saving Banks (CECA in Spanish) declared this Friday. They emphasised that many banks would have to “reconsider” their implementation in Catalonia and that there could consequently be a reduction in the bank’s offering in the territory. The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, described the Spanish government as “being irresponsible” for pushing the banking sector to be against the independence of Catalonia. He regretted that such “a delicate sector” was used as an “artillery weapon”.


Major banks such as Caixabank, Banco Santander and BBVA warned that the “risks” of “breaking the rules in force” after the 27-S elections will result in “exclusion from the EU and the Eurozone”. As a result, many banks “would have to reconsider their implementation strategy” in Catalonia, which would mean “a reduction in the bank’s offering” and “the financial exclusion incurred by a credit shortage and an increase in its price”.

Banking used as an “artillery weapon” by the Spanish government

The Catalan Finance Minister Andreu Mas-Colell responded to the major banking associations’ official declaration by speaking regretfully of the Spanish government’s attitude. “The financial sector is key for the economy and it is convenient to leave it out of the politics to avoid creating social alarm” he stated and added that such “a delicate sector” was being used as an “artillery weapon” by the Spanish government. Mas-Colell admitted that he wasn’t surprised by the AEB and CECA declaration, as Spain is “pressuring political and economic sectors” to be against Catalonia’s independence.

He added that he is not worried about such statements because he is convinced that Catalonia won’t be excluded from the EU. “We won’t stop paying nor being paid in euros. This is written in stone” he emphasised.

“The Catalan economy is sophisticated and developed”, he assured. Regarding the warning of a possible reduction in bank offering in Catalonia he stated that “there is a big market of financial services” in Catalonia and “it attracts trade operations”.

“Banks shouldn’t condition people’s votes”

Economics Professor from Universitat de Barcelona and member of pro-independence unitary list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ Elisenda Paluzie stated in an interview with Rac1 Catalan Radio that banks “shouldn’t condition people’s votes with such declarations”. “It’s a campaign based on fear and threats, typical from a low-quality democracy”, she stated and added that these banks “will be the first interested in staying in Catalonia”. The director of the Social Policies and Economic Analysis Centre from the University of Barcelona pointed out that many countries who are not in the EU “hold bilateral agreements to guarantee their access to liquidity”. Paluzie went on to emphasise that “the EU is a pragmatic institution and has many procedures to deal with processes” such as the Catalan.

 

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  • Caixabank, one of Catalonia's and Spain's biggest bank (by ACN)

  • Caixabank, one of Catalonia's and Spain's biggest bank (by ACN)
The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, described the Spanish government of “being irresponsible” for pushing the banking against the independence of Catalonia.