SPAIN’s economy minister believes the Catalan independence movement has cost the country €1 billion since October.
Luis de Guindos told Spanish radio that slowdown in the Catalan economy since the unauthorised independence referendum on October 1 has caused the damage.
The minister said growth in the relatively affluent region had slowed from 0.9 per cent to 0.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017.
“Catalonia used to have growth above that of Spain, it was one of the drivers of the Spanish economy,” Mr de Guindos said, adding that the region had now become a “burden”.
He blamed the previous regional government for generating “enormous uncertainty, concern and a loss of confidence”.
Catalonia accounts for around 20 per cent of Spain’s GDP and warnings about economic damage were a major part of its campaign against Catalan separatist parties in the December 21 regional election.
According to reports, 3,100 companies have moved their headquarters out of the region as a result of the ongoing crisis.