Mas Urges Rajoy to Ask EU for ‘Inevitable’ Spanish Bailout

Catalan President Artur Mas
Catalan President Artur Mas said, “A bailout is inevitable; therefore the best thing to do is to make the decision without delay.” Photographer: Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images

Catalan President Artur Mas urged Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to ask the European Union for a bailout as he rejected the deficit limits set for his region next year.

Mas called on Rajoy to double the share of next year’s budget shortfall allocated to regional administrations to 1.5 percent of gross domestic product and cut the central government budget to compensate. Spain can’t overcome its economic crisis without help and so Rajoy should request aid immediately, he added in a statement posted on the regional government’s website late yesterday.

“A bailout is inevitable; therefore the best thing to do is to make the decision without delay,” Mas said. “Spain has the potential to overcome the situation, but it will need assistance for some time.”

Mas is heaping pressure on the Spanish leader, who has seen police clash with demonstrators outside the national parliament in Madrid and more than a million protestors in Barcelona call for Catalonia to split from Spain. Mas’s comment cracked a truce Rajoy had brokered with the regions less than 24 hours earlier in which they endorsed his commitment to reducing the deficit.

The regional leaders didn’t reach an agreement with Rajoy on how to share out the burden of meeting the national deficit targets even when the prime minister agreed to negotiate the breakdown for 2014, Mas said.

Rajoy’s plan “puts at risk the basic elements of social cohesion,” Mas said.

Mas last month called early elections for his region to seek a broader mandate for his push to win more autonomy and a greater share of tax revenue for Catalonia. The vote will take place on Nov. 25.

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