The government of Catalonia, one of Spain’s autonomous regions, has called a snap election for Nov. 25 on the topic of self-determination. Voters will decide whether they want Calanonia’s status to stay as it is, or whether the region should take on more powers to handle its own assets (read: take more control over taxes). The election will, in effect, be a referendum on the future of Catalonia.
The news is rattling financial markets, as traders wonder whether Catalonia, Spain’s economic powerhouse, will default on its substantial share of its country’s debt.
Meanwhile in Greece, workers have walked off the job for the first strike since the current coalition government was formed in June. On Wednesday, around 50,000 people joined the union-organized anti-austerity march in Athens. The protest quickly turned violent. Trees in the capital’s National Gardens were set on fire and strikers smashed paving stones and marble panels with hammers to use them as weapons against the police.
The strike, though, hasn’t prevented Greece’s coalition government from agreeing on a proposed $14.87 billion worth of spending cuts, which they hope will satisfy the country’s creditors. The European Central Bank, the European Community and the International Monetary Fund have asked for more fiscal reforms from Greece as a precondition for the country accessing a further $39 in further bailout funds.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012