Holidays

Catalonia referendum: Spain vote a ‘boost for Brexit and British Costa holidays’


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VOTE: Catalans take to the polls on October 1

The separatist-led referendum on independence for Catalonia is just days away as the Spanish government braces itself for revolt.

The region – known worldwide for the lively beach resort of the Costa Brava and the historic city of Barcelona – is hugely popular with Brits.

Independence would be the equivalent of Scotland leaving the United Kingdom and it would have huge implications across Europe.

But if successful, it could be great news for Britain’s Brexit negotiations team and tourists looking for cheap booze-fuelled getaways to the region.


“Catalonia will become independent from the Spanish state quite quickly now”


Paul Quigley

Speaking exclusively to Daily Star Online, independent political commentator Paul Quigley claimed that Catalan independence is an “inevitability”.

He said: “Catalonia will become independent from the Spanish state quite quickly now.

“The people of that region are sick and tired of the Madrid elite and want out pronto.

“It will be good news for British expats living in the area – as the authorities will need cash for the economy.

“There’s no doubt the Catalans will be hoping Brits stick around because Brits spend money – so they’ll do whatever they can to keep us.

“That could well mean cheap holiday packages and incentives for expats to stick around.”

The threat of Brits deciding against going there on holiday is clearly very real, too.

Research put together by travelsupermarket.com suggests that Brits are turning their backs on the Costas as they look to the Greek Islands, Cape Verde and Bali.

Mr Quigley added: “The Catalan economy needs Brits – the money it gets from tourism is absolutely essential, particularly as youth unemployment is sky rocketing and inflation is rampant.

“The bars, clubs and hotels all need to be full – if they’re not, people’s livelihoods are at stake.

“They’re going to do everything they can to keep Brits spending money there.”

The Spanish government is not going down without a fight over independence, though.

This week, troops were deployed on the streets of Barcelona as 40,000 protestors took to the streets campaigning for a breakaway.

The protests were sparked when the Spanish military police raided Catalan government offices on Wednesday and arrested dozens of officials.

The Madrid government has claimed that the referendum is “illegal”, sparking one of the country’s biggest political crises since the infamous Franco years.

Hitting back, Catalan’s President Carles Puigdemont said: “The Spanish state has by all rights intervened in Catalonia’s government and has established emergency rule.

“We condemn and reject the anti-democratic and totalitarian actions of the Spanish state.”

If independence does go ahead on October 1, though, Mr Quigley believes it will be welcomed with open arms in Downing Street.

“The main impact of Catalonia independence on Brits will be a fast-tracked trade deal to link Barcelona and Brexit Britain in a superhighway of trade, tourism and commerce,” he added.

“Brexit negotiations will be strengthened by Catalonia’s determination to forge ahead with international trade deals with partners like Britain.

“And it could pave the way for other nations like Poland Austria, and Hungary to follow.”

At this stage, polls suggest support for independence is waning as tensions rise in north-eastern Spain.

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