Madrid yesterday said it would block any Scottish attempt to join the European Union (EU) through the back door over fears it may inspire Catalonia to follow suit.
Now prime minister Mariano Rajoy has promised to invest €3.9billion (£3.3billion) over the next 8 years in rail projects for the region.
The project, a top demand from the Catalan government, is hoped to weaken demand for an independence push within the region’s business community.
In 2014, former Catalan leader Artur Mass was handed a two-year-ban from public office for holding an illegal independence referendum.
Madrid yesterday said they would block any Scottish attempt to join the EU through the back door
And current Catalan president Carles Puidgemonth has said he will fight for an independent Catalonia “until the very last day”.
It comes as Madrid welcomes Theresa May’s attempts to block the Scottish independence referendum, insisting a vote will not resolve the issue.
The Prime Minister has stressed “now is not the time” for a second independence referendum as the Government focuses on upcoming Brexit talks.
The project is hoped to weaken demand for an independence push European Human Rights: How well do you know them? Tue, March 21, 2017
The European Convention on Human Rights is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe.
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Spain welcomed the move as its officials attempt to crack down on separatism amid fears Scottish independence could become a blueprint for Catalonia’s pro-independence forces.
Enric Millo, the central government’s representative in the Catalan capital Barcelona, said: “Both governments understand that a referendum isn’t the best way of solving this kind of political dispute.
“We have been clear about that for a long time. And now the UK is clear about it too.”
Artur Mass was handed a two-year-ban from public office for holding an illegal referendum
Madrid has welcomed Theresa May’s attempts to block the Scottish independence referendum
The goodwill reinforces plans by Mrs May’s Government to identify Spain as an ally during Brexit talks.
With 18 million British tourists boosting the Spanish economy each year and Spain investing some £105billion in the UK, both London and Madrid are keen for relations to remain cordial with potentially major implications for Scotland.