Catalonia on the brink of nowhere as Spain still opposes its independence

The Catalan stand-off comes to a head today with a 1600 GMT session of the regional parliament that Madrid fears will be a platform to make a unilateral declaration of independence.

That in theory would start a six-month process culminating in actual independence but PM Mariano Rajoy has made it clear he will do whatever he can to nip it in the bud well before then: the first step likely being a suspension of the Catalan regional parliament.

There are still voices out there calling for both sides to avert a showdown and start talking about a possible compromise; France and Germany have also weighed in to support Spanish unity, with Paris in particular noting the fact that any secession would mean Catalonia being kicked out of the EU – and by definition the euro zone.

Moreover, no major country has come forward to say it would recognise an independent Catalonia, which ultimately is the litmus test of any separatist movement. Yet the Catalan leadership may feel it has gone too far to back down just yet.

Over 200 days after they voted back in March, the Dutch are finally going to get a government after a coalition deal was agreed. The accord approved late Monday is expected to feature an overhaul of the corporate tax code to make it more attractive to foreign business, new anti-immigrant measures, as well as extra spending on military, healthcare, and teacher salaries. Details are expected to be unveiled today.

Public sector workers across France are set to go on strike today in protest against Emmanuel Macron’s planned job cuts in the state sector plus measures such as a reduction in sick leave compensation. It is a testing time for Macron right now: he is currently facing accusations that he is the “president of the rich” after making good on a campaign pledge to scrap France’s wealth tax – a symbol of social justice targeting millionaires. The 2018 budget in which that measure is contained comes before the National Assembly’s finance commission today.

(Source: Reuters)

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