Catalan leader returns home empty handed after tax talks

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Catalan leader returns home empty handed after tax talks

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Catalonia’s President arrived in Barcelona on Thursday to crowds of supporters, after failing to convince Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to allow the region to be able to spend and raise its own taxes.

Following the failed talks, Artur Mas is now hinting at calling early elections in the region, where Spain’s economic crisis is fanning an independence movement.

“We must fight for our country” said one supporter.

“We must not be a coward, we must be brave and go forward. If Spaniards don’t want to, it is their problem.”

Catalonia claims that some 16 billion euros a year of its taxes are used to fund central government and other parts of Spain.

More than half of Catalans say they want to break away and polls suggest an election would land Mas and his party with an absolute majority -strengthening the push for independence.

That would deliver a blow to Rajoy, who has called for national unity to counter Spain’s debt crisis.