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POST TIME: 2 January, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Spain says Catalan crisis cost ‘1b euros’
AFP

Spain says Catalan crisis cost ‘1b euros’

AFP, MADRID: Spain’s foreign minister claimed yesterday that the Catalan independence crisis had cost the country “a billion” euros as fallout from the turmoil continued to hamper growth in the wealthy region.

Luis de Guindos said slowdown in growth in Catalonia, which accounts to around a fifth of Spanish GDP, was hampering the eurozone’s fourth largest economy as a whole.

“Catalonia used to have growth above that of Spain, it was one of the drivers of the Spanish economy,” he told Spanish radio.

“However, in the fourth quarter, it’s become a burden.”

De Guindos estimated the crisis could “easily have cost a billion euros” ($1.2 billion).

Spain was plunged into its deepest political crisis in decades when separatists in Catalonia’s regional government declared independence in October following a banned referendum on the topic.

Led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Madrid invoked powers provided for by Spain’s constitution to suspend the region’s cherished autonomy, sack its government and parliament, and call fresh regional elections in a bid to head off the secession drive.