GLOBAL ECONOMY

Ahead of pivotal vote, Bank of Spain warns Catalonia secession would mean exit from EU

FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 11, 2015 file photo, people carry a giant "estelada" flag, a symbol of Catalonian pro-independence, during a demonstration calling for the independence of Catalonia in Barcelona. Spain’s main banking associations warned Friday that a victory for Catalonia’s secession drive would create severe banking problems for the new Mediterranean nation left outside the European Union. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 11, 2015 file photo, people carry a giant "estelada" flag, a symbol of Catalonian pro-independence, during a demonstration calling for the independence of Catalonia in Barcelona. Spain’s main banking associations warned Friday that a victory for Catalonia’s secession drive would create severe banking problems for the new Mediterranean nation left outside the European Union. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

Spain's northeastern Catalonia region would be automatically ejected from the European Union and the eurozone if it were to declare independence, the country's central bank said Monday.

Secession for economically powerful Catalonia would also close the door to European Central Bank financing, Bank of Spain governor Luis Maria Linde said.

Voters in Catalonia will elect regional lawmakers Sunday, with pro-secession parties saying they will push for independence within 18 months if they win a majority in the 165-seat parliament, as most opinion polls predict they will.

Secessionist leaders insist a way may be found for an independent Catalonia to continue using the euro and accused Linde of trying to scare voters.

Linde's statement was not informative and is "pure poison with the aim of instilling fear in people," said Artur Mas, Catalonia's regional president.

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Spanish officials including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have repeatedly ruled out any possibility of the region becoming independent, saying secession would be unconstitutional.

Catalonia, whose capital is Barcelona, represents some 18 percent of Spain's economic output.

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