'Catalonia independence from Spain just days away'

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"Catalan banks are Spanish banks and European banks are solid and their clients have nothing to fear", Luis de Guindos, Spain's Economy Minister said Wednesday.

Many European leaders have been notable for their lack of criticism of Spain's heavy-handed tactics in trying to stop the vote, not wanting to be seen to interfere in another country's affairs.

Spain has been rocked by the poll and the Spanish police response to it, which saw batons and rubber bullets used to prevent people voting.

That's what people on the streets here were asking after more than 2 million Catalans voted overwhelmingly Sunday in a chaotic, violent referendum to declare independence from Spain.

Appealing for global mediation to help solve the crisis, he told the corporation that he disagreed with the European Commission's statement that it was internal matter for Spain.

The EU fears an independent Catalonia could spark other secessionist movements.

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Some have criticized the European Union for "double-standards", saying its talk of upholding democratic values appeared hollow given its opposition to the public vote on independence. "We encourage everyone, particularly Christian laity, to be responsible and committed in public life, to move forth on the path of dialogue and understanding".

Spain's world number one Rafael Nadal said on Monday he was stunned and felt like crying following a banned independence referendum in Catalonia and a police crackdown.

The crisis could deepen further if the Catalan regional parliament uses the vote as justification for a unilateral declaration of independence, as foreseen in the referendum law enacted by the region but rejected by Madrid.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has said he does not want a "traumatic break". The region doesn't have any powers over defense, foreign affairs, taxes, ports or airports, all of which are in the hands of the Madrid government.

"We are not here to divide Spaniards. but if someone tries to declare independence on behalf of a part of Spain's territory, that can not be done because it is beyond their powers", said Rafael Catalá. He said Brussels had been timid and lacked courage on the matter.

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