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Catalan policies are ‘insane’, says Spain’s economy minister

Key Points
  • Spain has given the Catalan leadership eight days to drop its bid for independence or else face losing its political autonomy
  • The country's economy minister tells CNBC the Catalonian government is "insane"
  • Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy could suspend the region's autonomy and call fresh elections
Spanish economy minister hopes Catalan government returns to legality

Spain's Economy Minister Luis de Guindos has described the policies of the Catalan government as "insane" and says trouble in the region is about anarchy rather than independence.

De Guindos told CNBC Thursday that he believed no economy could thrive without the rule of law and that the Catalonian government was not acting rationally.

"We have started to see that some very large Catalan corporations are leaving Catalonia," he said. "And this is a very clear indication that the policies implemented by the regional government are insane."

"They are very detrimental to the interest of the Catalan people and the Catalan economy. I think that now this is not so much about independence, this is about radical policies," the minister added.

De Guindos said the political force behind the independence movement has its roots in anarchism.

"You have to bear in mind that the group who are supporting the regional government and calling the shots are an extremely radical group that has links with the anarchist tradition of Barcelona and Catalunya.

"This goes beyond independence. This is about the system and anti-capitalist policies and I think that the companies are voting with their feet," he said.

Impact of Catalan crisis on economy very small, Spanish economy minister says

On the violence witnessed around the world on October 1, the economy minister refused to see it as a political mistake from Madrid and pushed the blame again onto the separatist movement.

"Everybody regrets that kind of scenes that we saw. But I think that the real culprit of what happened on October 1st was the government of Catalonia.

"They called an illegal referendum and the action of the police was the consequence of the court of Spain. It was not the action of the Spanish government. They (the police) were acting because the constitutional court of Spain declared this referendum illegal," the minister said.

Is 'Article 155' coming?

Article 155 is a federal government provision that could allow Madrid to terminate the Catalan government and seek fresh elections.

De Guindos said if the Catalan government did not return to the boundaries of legality then Article 155 would be triggered by the combined support of Partido Popular, the Socialist Party and Ciudadanos.

"These three constitutional parties are going to be united in bringing the intentions of the Catalan government to an end," said the economy minister.

Under '155', Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is expected to submit to the Spanish senate a list of actions that the government will take against the Catalonian government.

EU intervention

Brussels not needed in Catalan talks, Spanish economy minister says

De Guindos was clear in his opinion that the situation would not be better served by having a representative of the European Union act as an intermediary.

"We do need at all. I think this something you have when there are two countries of equal status but this is not the case here.  

"This is a regional government that is breaching the law and a central government that is trying to enforce the law," said De Guindos.

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