Catalonia's national day raises the curtain on a vote later this month seen as a de facto referendum on independence. With Madrid likely to block any separatist moves, could Europe be shaping up for another political and economic crisis? Tim Graham reports.
Flying the flag for Catalonia. Spain's richest region celebrates its national day, with a sea of red and yellow blanketing Barcelona. Two weeks out from elections, considered a de facto referendum on independence, politicians here are ramping up the rhetoric... with campaigning in full swing for what's seen as a make-or-break moment. (SOUNDBITE) (Catalan) CATALAN PRESIDENT AND CANDIDATE, ARTUR MAS, SAYING: "Together we have done everything in our hands, and we will keep on doing it until September 27 and after. We have done everything we could to change this status quo and to lead Catalonia to a real change, a positive one" Catalonia accounts for a fifth of Spain's output and population... The push to break away has been spurred on by Spain's economic crisis, and what many see as a deaf-ears tactic by the Madrid government. But a new poll shows separatist parties are on track to win the slimmest of majorities. They say taking over half of the 135 seats in the regional parliament will trigger a roadmap to secession within 18 months. CMC's Jasper Lawler. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) CMC MARKETS ANALYST, JASPER LAWLER, SAYING: "That kind of political turbulence, we're already starting to feel it a bit in markets. You can look at the yield gap between the Spanish 10-year and the German 10-year - it's widening. There's more risk to investing in Spain when there's this risk of disintegration. And I think it's an issue for the wider euro zone." Spain's Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has branded the idea of Catalan independence as "nonsense". And he's prepared to fight hard to keep the country together, tabling new legislation, giving Spain's top court the power to shut down any unilateral declaration of independence ... should Catalonia try to make one.