September 17, 2014 / 2:03 PM / 5 years ago

Spanish PM Rajoy warns independence votes 'torpedo' Europe

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy fired a last-minute broadside on Wednesday against Scotland’s independence referendum, warning that such events “torpedo” the foundations of Europe and wreak economic recessions.

Rajoy’s center-right government has been trying to quell calls in the northern Spanish region of Catalonia for a similar vote on breaking away, denouncing such a move as illegal.

With the regional government in Barcelona - which has penciled in a consultation on independence on November 9 - set to potentially give such a vote a green light on Friday, the spotlight could turn to Catalonia’s drive to cut ties with Spain a day after Scots are due to vote on whether to stay in Britain.

“The whole of Europe believes these processes are enormously negative,” Rajoy told parliament in Madrid, when asked whether his government would facilitate Scotland’s integration into the European Union if it voted “yes” to independence on Thursday.

“They create big problems in areas such as currency, public debt, pension payments... they produce recessions and poverty for all,” the Spanish leader said. “These processes are a torpedo below the waterline of the European spirit.”

Reporting by Sarah White; Editing by Julien Toyer and Paul Taylor

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