Employers’ associations reject call to weigh in on Catalan secession debate

Spain's CEOE and Catalonia's Foment del Treball call on politicians for stability and more dialogue

Barcelona -

The main Spanish and Catalan employers' associations on Monday declined to get involved in the pro-sovereignty process and instead asked politicians for more dialogue to guarantee the "stability" that businesses need to operate.

The statements by leaders of Spain's CEOE and Catalonia's Foment del Treball were triggered by last week's call from Catalan premier Artur Mas for businesses to participate in the independence drive he himself is sponsoring. "We have to do this together," said Mas, of the nationalist coalition CiU.

But Foment del Treball leader Joaquim Gay de Montellà and CEOE chief Juan Rosell said that their goal is to create jobs and wealth, and that they will continue to do so, regardless of the political debate around them.

While noting that Catalonia has a "very significant" political, social and economic problem, Rosell called on politicians to talk it over.

"It is necessary to know how to explain to the rest of Spain that there is a problem in Catalonia, and to try to solve it through dialogue, dialogue and more dialogue," he said.

"The political situation is complex, but that's what politicians are for, and they have a lot of work to do, both here and in Madrid," he added. "We businesspeople can help get them talking, but little else. We're here to get companies working and hiring. That is our job and our goal."

Joaquim Gay de Montellà spoke along the same lines, asking political parties "not to generate uncertainty" and to create stability so "everyone can feel comfortable."

The head of the Catalan employers' association reiterated calls for a fiscal agreement for Catalonia mirroring the one granted to the Basque Country, as well as "more adequate" taxes for businesses and action against the underground economy.

The European Commission has said that an independent Catalonia would have to reapply for admission into the EU, and several business leaders have already spoken out against the advisability of secession.

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