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Scots say No, but Europe still on alert

Friday, September 19, 2014 - 02:17

A 'No' in Scotland, but Catalonia appears to be inexorably heading for its own breakaway bid in a Europe gradually beginning to change shape. Should investors be concerned? David Pollard reports.

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Europe's in flux - no more so than here in Barcelona, with its iconic Sacrada Familia cathedral, a symbol of Catalan pride. It was 'No' in Scotland, but that hasn't put off those who want independence. SOUNDBITE (Catalan) BARCELONA RESIDENT ROSA MARIA TORRENTS, SAYING: "I would have liked the 'yes' to win because it would have encouraged many people here. I want the 'yes' to win here because I am a separatist and people want to split from Spain." In Madrid, some say a vote to let the Catalans to go their own way should involve all Spaniards. Others see grave dangers in separatism - as does prime minister Mariano Rajoy. SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SPANISH PRIME MINISTER MARIANO RAJOY SAYING: ''I believe profoundly in the integration of Europe, I think it's the path that has allowed us to overcome the tragedies of our history and allows us to successfully confront the challenges of the future.'' But there is too a feeling the genie may be out of the bottle. Flemish separatists are among minorities demanding more autonomy - they staged their own rally just hours before the Scottish vote. And the swing towards anti-EU parties in last May's European elections - like France's National Front - left the Brussels elite bruised and bewildered. Scotland's vote may yet be felt, says Bill Blain of Mint Partners. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BILL BLAIN, MINT PARTNERS, SAYING: ''We've shown that in a mature political economy we can have a democratic process that works. Europe is terrified of the same thing happening. And if we get the kind of questions asked why the Catalans and other minorities aren't getting the same opportunity .... that's going to put more pressure back in Europe.'' Alistair McCaig of IG says, despite a 'No' vote, Scotland may also have set the mould. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALASTAIR McCAIG, IG, SAYING: ''The fact that the SNP had managed to achieve the ability to hold a referendum is more than just a step ahead of many of these other regions that would love to gain independence. I think they have their own internal battles to fight before they get to that stage. But undoubtedly this will be seen as a guiding light for them to follow.'' Follow Catalonia almost certainly will. Within hours of the Scottish result, Catalan's regional president, Artur Mas, promised to sign a decree - to allow for a vote on independence as early as November the ninth.

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Scots say No, but Europe still on alert

Friday, September 19, 2014 - 02:17