Europe News

'Revolution is not a joke': Banks leaving Catalonia is no surprise, says Spain's ruling party

Key Points
  • Catalan parliament to convene '"illegally" on Monday.
  • At least one major bank is to relocate its headquarters.
  • Separatists accused of "playing at a revolution".
Catalan separatists have engaged in political blackmail: Lawmaker

Political tensions in Catalonia continue to simmer after Banco Sabadell confirmed its intention to relocate its legal headquarters, while Caixabank is due to hold a meeting to discuss the issue later on Friday.

Shares in both banks rallied yesterday on the news but have today given up some of those gains.

Fernando Sanchez Costa, Catalan parliament deputy, and member of Spain's ruling Partido Popular, told CNBC Friday that Catalan independence leaders are now in a difficult position.

"The Catalan high-class and middle-class have played to a revolution," he said. "And now they are discovering that revolution is not a joke. We have been telling them for years 'Please keep calm.'"

"So it is legitimate to defend independence, but what is not normal, what is not good, is to break everything — the rule of law, constitution," he added.

Banco Sabadell move shows how irresponsible Catalan separatists are: Lawmaker

Earlier, Catalonia's foreign minister confirmed that the region's parliament will convene Monday in defiance of the Spanish government.

This is seen as a potential flashpoint for more violence after a Spanish court suspended the parliament session fearing Catalan separatists could use it to declare independence from Spain.

Costa said the possibility of more clashes with national police would hopefully be avoided.

"That is not a scenario we want and we will work to avoid it," he said. "We know that it was not very good what happened last Sunday.

"The Spanish government had been five years very cautious with the Catalan situation but okay after five years they broke everything (and forced Madrid into a reaction)," said Costa.

Sanchez said he will not attend any Catalan parliamentary session Monday as it is illegal and will result in a complete division of parliament.

Spain is a 'so-called democracy,' really a totalitarian state: Catalan MEP

Earlier in the week, economist and Catalan politician Ramon Tremosa i Balcells told CNBC that the violence seen last weekend showed the true face of the Spanish state.

"A so-called democracy which is really a totalitarian state. One which Catalans have been suffering for centuries of history," the independence supporter said Monday.

The European MEP said Europe had "lost its credibility, not (just) with the Catalan issue but on so many issues."

Tremosa i Balcells said the European Union president Jean-Claude Juncker is a person too heavily influenced by capital cities such as Madrid, Paris, and Rome.

Asset reaction

Monday's potential for fresh unrest in Spain has seen the country's index slump to a session low.

Most selling took place in the banking sector but by the early afternoon, the index of top Spanish stocks had recovered to sit around 0.4 percent lower on a session basis.

Spanish bonds also reacted, with yields rising five basis points after the announcement that Catalan politicians would again defy Madrid.