So, how is the Spanish government going to deal with the thorny issue of Catalonia, the rich province which is pushing for independence from Spain? The new government of Pedro Sanchez has abandoned the bullyboy tactics of the former Spanish administration. offering Catalonia greater autonomy and power. But the offer has been rejected by the pro-independence Catalan government. So what to do next? The only way forward to end this stand-off before it hits the Spanish economy hard is to give the Catalans an independence referendum.

Now, the province is effectively split between those who support a breakaway and those who don't. If the Spanish political elite and high profile businesspeople came out against independence, I am sure that the issue would be resolved and Catalans would reject independence by a small margin. but nonetheless it would end the problem.

If Catalonia continues to push for independence, sooner or later it will hurt the Spanish economy. Sanchez needs to have the necessary courage to give the people of Catalonia a say on their future. Nine Catalan politicians and activists are in pre-trial detention on charges of rebellion for their part in organising the illegal referendum one year ago. Their trials could start as early as October, further fanning tensions as Sanchez seeks a compromise with Barcelona. There are difficult times ahead but at the end of the day there is only one option.