Mariano Rajoy

Independence crisis intensifies as Spain prepares to strip Catalonia of local powers

Independence crisis intensifies as Spain prepares to strip Catalonia of local powers

Fear, anger and anxiety heightened on both sides of a secession divide as the Spanish government vowed Thursday to take the unprecedented step of stripping autonomous powers from the northeastern region of Catalonia.

The region’s president, Carles Puigdemont, did not renounce independence despite a Thursday deadline imposed by the central government.

The escalating confrontation between Madrid and Spain’s most prosperous region sent ripples of unease across the continent, where European Union leaders are already wary of fissures within the bloc.

Spain’s worst political crisis in nearly four decades of democracy could hamper a still fragile economic recovery in the...

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