Artur Mas
Catalan president Artur Mas is not kowtowing to noises from Madrid (David Ramos/Getty Images)

As Catalonia goes to polls in regional elections on 27 September, the head of the autonomous Spanish region Artur Mas has hinted that a split from Spain is inevitable unless the central government agreed to a referendum on independence. Last year an unofficial referendum showed that 80% of Catalans were in favour of breaking away.

Nationalist leaders in Catalonia have vowed to declare independence within a year and a half if they win majority of seats in the regional assembly due this weekend. In an interview, Mas told Reuters, "Three years ago I would have said yes to a fiscal pact but the government in Madrid blocked all negotiations and refused this possibility. Now we have to vote on self-determination, we have to vote on independence."

However, the autonomous region has been warned by the European Union and Bank of Spain that if it declares its parting, Catalonia would stare at ejection from the European Union and the eurozone.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has opposed to the Catalan independence, which he described as "nonsense". He has also ruled out any dialogue with the heads of the movement. Last week, US President Barack Obama voiced his concerns saying he favoured Spain being united.

Catalonia is one of Spain's 17 autonomous communities and its independence movement is being called for decades now. Citizens from the wealthy region account for a fifth of Spain's economic output and have been complaining about how their tax money is redistributed towards the rest of Spain. Supporters have also argued that Madrid has curtailed autonomy and rights over the use of the Catalan language over the years.

However, reports claim that it may not be as easy for Catalonia to go independent as it would have to introduce its own currency, will have to service a public debt in a foreign currency and would have restricted access to the EU market.