|As separatists in Catalonia jockeyed Friday to elude court rulings and find ways to deliver on their promise to declare independence, business giants hit back with plans to relocate their headquarters elsewhere in Spain amid the increasing political uncertainty.
Caixabank, Spain's third lender in global assets, said Friday that it was moving from Barcelona to the eastern city of Valencia, "given the current situation in Catalonia." It said it wants to remain in the eurozone and under the supervision of the European Central Bank — two things that would not happen if Catalonia did manage to secede.
The region's separatist government has vowed to use a pro-independence victory in a disputed referendum last weekend to go ahead with secession, while calling for Spain's central government to accept a dialogue.
But the government of Spain's conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has rejected any negotiations unless the separatists drop their secession bid. Rajoy urged Puigdemont to cancel plans for declaring independence in order to avoid "greater evils."
"In order to dialogue, you must stay within the legal framework," Spanish cabinet spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo told reporters Friday, blaming the secessionists for breaking Spain's constitutional order.
"Coexistence is broken" in Catalonia, he said, warning Catalans that a parliamentary declaration of independence "is not enough" and that the international community needs to recognize independent nations.