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Spain’s debt crisis – and how it has left thousands of the region’s homeowners underwater – has taken centre stage in the lead-up to today’s regional vote.

Ada Colau runs a support group for Catalan familes who been evicted because they couldn’t keep up with their mortgage repayments:

“It’s been almost four years and the parties in government have done nothing except rescue the banks. Although it’s late, we must react to this emergency.”

More than 7,000 Catalan people had their homes repossessed in the first quarter on 2012.

Youth unemployment in Spain now stands at more than 52 percent. It’s a hopeless situation that’s seen protests by young people turn violent in recent weeks.

Mireia Dones, helps young people to start their own businesses:

“I believe that with greater freedom and independence for Catalonia, there would be no more excuses not to actively pursue policies that create employment opportunities. They’re just not creating jobs,” she said.

Many Catalans think the region is overtaxed to the tune of 16 billion euros which prevents spending on local infrastructure projects that would generate thousands of jobs.

Francisco Fuentes, euronews’ correspondent in Barcelona told us that: “Catalans are not only deciding their future amid the ongoing independence debate. But today’s election is another chance for voters to voice their discontent over the deep austerity measures.”

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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