Photographer: Stefano Buonamici/Bloomberg

politics

German Investors Tell Catalan Separatists They Deserve Prison

  • Catalonia-based foreign investors warn of prolonged tensions
  • German investment in region include automakers like Volkswagen

Catalan lawmakers must accept the legal consequences if they refuse to obey Spanish law, the head of an association for German executives in the region said.

“We want a strong Catalonia, we invested here and we want security,” Albert Peters, chairman of the Barcelona-based Circle of German-Speaking Businessmen in Catalonia, told Onda Cero radio in an interview Wednesday. “Everyone must comply with the constitution, and if not, then that person should be taken to court.”

Peters said he hopes the new government of Catalonia changes course after ousted President Carles Puigdemont led a drive to declare independence from Spain last year. His association represents more than 200 executives and its sponsors include firms such as BASF SE and chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli AG, according to its website.

At a tense lunch in Barcelona on Tuesday, some members of the association attacked the pro-independence speaker of Catalan parliament Roger Torrent over the secession campaign. One accused the separatist leaders of trying to take Catalonia back to the middle ages and was applauded when he said they should all go to jail, according to a video of the event posted by Eldiario.es.

Torrent is trying to find an approach that doens’t clash with the constitution, Peters told Onda Cero. “I think many deputies in Catalonia have learned the lesson.”

Puigdemont and other ousted members of the Catalan government face probes for sedition and rebellion following last October’s unilateral declaration of independence. Puigdemont remains in self-imposed exile in Belgium and faces arrest if he returns to Spain.

Large German investors in Catalonia include Volkswagen AG, whose Seat unit at Martorell near Barcelona employs about 12,000 people.

The Catalan parliament is set to hold a vote on March 12 to elect the next regional president after Puigdemont announced he would step aside. The candidate put forward by Torrent is Jordi Sanchez, a former head of the pro-independence campaign group ANC who is being held in prison on remand and will need permission from a judge to stand in next week’s vote.

“The president of Catalonia has a duty to give reassurance and rebuild Catalonia,” Peters said.

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