French press review 7 October 2017

Text by: William Niba
3 min

French press warns Catalan separatists and the Madrid government not to play with a lighter in the hay barn.

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The French commentators have their reading glasses on as they screen developments in Spain where Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has vowed to stop Catalan leaders from declaring the region's unilateral independence.

It’s the deepest political crisis experienced by the Kingdom in decades.

As Spain braces for more protests Saturday, le Figaro undertakes a total recall of the dramatic events around the outlawed and violence-marred vote which it claims is "on the brink of destabilizing Europe".

According to the paper, Friday saw the first signs the sides may be willing to step back from the days of ill-tempered rhetoric.

Le Parisien reports that Spain's central government apologized for the heavyhanded actions of the police to the 7.5 million people of the tourist-friendly northeastern region which accounts for a fifth of the economy and persons hurt in last Sunday's referendum disturbances.

This was while Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont indicated that his side could consider a "ceasefire" in the dispute, to avoid a further crackdown by Madrid.

Le Figaro also reports that Puigdemont on Friday postponed an appearance in the regional parliament at which some leaders were hoping for a declaration of independence, his spokesman confirming their strategy to gain time and ease tensions.

According to Libération, several business giants including Catalonia's two major banks, Sabadell and CaixaBank, terrified by the threat of a unilateral independence declaration, have begun moving their legal headquarters out of region.

La Charente Libre aruges that, after raising the peoples' hopes, Catalan leaders are now facing the financial ramifications which are likely to dent their determination.

La Presse de la Manche says Barcelona which has been so proud of its flourishing economy was already having mixed feelings.

The regional publication says it was a wise decision  by the two parties to stop playing with a lighter in a hay barn, adding that it must be very clear in the minds of the Catalan leaders now that business never flourishes in situations of uncertainty.

For La Dépêche du Midi, having reached a point of no return, the two parties in the confrontation can't just turn around now and co-exist as if nothing happened. According to the paper, one of them needs to back down.

And in the publication's point of view it will be up to Catalonia to make the first move no matter how painful that will be.

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