Businesses eye the exit from Catalonia as leaders mull declaration of independence

Jasper Jolly
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Pro-Unity Rally Held In Barcelona Against Catalonian Independence
Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Barcelona against independence today (Source: Getty)

Businesses based in Catalonia will tomorrow urgently consider moving out of the region, as the leader of the Catalonian government mulls carrying out a declaration of independence this week.

Spanish property firm Inmobiliaria Colonial has called a board meeting for tomorrow to discuss moving its head office out of Catalonia, according to a source close to the firm cited by Reuters.

A decision to move out of Barcelona would add it to a list of firms including Caixabank and Banco de Sabadell who have already announced they will move their headquarters.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters filled the streets of Barcelona, the Catalonian capital, yesterday to march against the independence plans, but Catalonian leaders remained defiant.

Read more: Spanish stocks fall and the euro slips after independence vote in Catalonia

Catalonian leader Carles Puigdemont today said he will apply the law under which the region carried out a controversial referendum last week, which said the region should declare independence if the separatists were victorious.

“The declaration of independence, that we don't call a 'unilateral' declaration of independence, is foreseen in the referendum law as an application of the results. We will apply what the law says," Puigdemont said in the programme on Catalonia's TV3, according to excerpts on the broadcaster's website cited by Reuters.

However, the legality of the referendum is hotly contested, with the Spanish government maintaining the vote itself was illegal and has no power. Spain’s highest court ruled the vote was unconstitutional, meaning there is little chance of its results being accepted.

The Spanish government attempted to stop the referendum taking place, plunging Spain into constitutional crisis. Police drew heavy condemnation for violence to voters with hundreds of people reported injured.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said yesterday he would consider suspending the autonomy of the region if it declared independence, insisting such a declaration would have no effect.

Read more: Hundreds injured in Catalan referendum as violence erupts in Spain

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