The EU’s budget commissioner has warned of the risk of “civil war” in Catalonia, as fears grew over a looming independence declaration and major banks prepared to relocate their headquarters.

With just 48 hours until Catalonia's Parliament meets, defying Madrid, to debate secession, Gunther Oettinger, the Germany EU commissioner urged dialogue...

"The position is very, very alarming. Civil war is conceivable there, in the middle of Europe," he began.

 

”One can only hope that a conversation will be made between Madrid and Barcelona soon,” he continued, adding that the EU could only mediate talks “if asked."

The German commissioner’s startling remarks prompted disquiet among EU diplomats. One told VOA he thought the comments "nonsense."

What would Spain lose if Catalonia becomes independent?

Independence for Catalonia has been a long time coming...

As VOA reports, Oettinger and the EU Commission, the European bloc’s governing body, which fears Catalan independence might stir up separatism elsewhere in Europe, have also urged the authorities in Madrid and Barcelona to start negotiations and to avoid further provocations.

But there are little signs of that happening.

Both sides appear to be standing firm in Spain’s worst constitutional crisis since an attempted coup in 1981.

And this won't help...

In an interview with El Pais newspaper that will be published in full on Sunday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Spain will exist for a long time and that he won’t allow a declaration of independence to lead to anything.

“I hope that the Catalan political class that was moderate and willing to compromise -- and that has contributed for so many years to our wellbeing and economic development -returns."

So civil war it is?