Bank of Spain warns Catalonia secession would mean euro exit, no access to ECB funds

MADRID – Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region would be automatically ejected from the European Union and the eurozone if it were to declare independence, the country’s central bank said Monday.

Secession for economically powerful Catalonia would also close the door to European Central Bank financing, Bank of Spain governor Luis Maria Linde said.

Voters in Catalonia will elect regional lawmakers Sunday, with pro-secession parties saying they will push for independence within 18 months if they win a majority in the 165-seat parliament, as most opinion polls predict they will.

Secessionist leaders insist a way may be found for an independent Catalonia to continue using the euro and accused Linde of trying to scare voters.

Linde’s statement was not informative and is “pure poison with the aim of instilling fear in people,” said Artur Mas, Catalonia’s regional president.

Spanish officials including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have repeatedly ruled out any possibility of the region becoming independent, saying secession would be unconstitutional.

Catalonia, whose capital is Barcelona, represents some 18 per cent of Spain’s economic output.