Carles Puigdemont, who is expected to declare independence this evening. | Yves Herman


Biel Barceló, the government's vice-president, spoke yesterday about the situation in Catalonia. In a television interview he said that there is concern in the Balearics because of "historical, economic, social and linguistic links with Catalonia". He added: "The position of the Balearic government is that, if international mediation is needed, then this should happen."

As the Spanish government appears to be reluctant to consider this, Barceló observed that "we naturally respect what each government has to defend, but we believe in the search for dialogue and solutions as well as in international (European) mediation".

On the transfer of the registered office of the La Caixa Foundation to Palma, Barceló noted that this doesn't signify a great change. It is, though, an indication of "the continuity of a stable and fruitful relationship between the Balearics and the foundation". The transfer, he explained, doesn't involve movement of workers to the Balearics or the opening of new offices (the CaixaForum in Plaça Weyler is the base). But it has come about because of the "political problem in Catalonia, which we hope can be resolved through dialogue".

The transfer of the foundation to Palma from Barcelona is of lesser significance than CaixaBank's decision to relocate its actual banking registered office to Valencia. That decision has continued to have some political fallout with the Partido Popular and right-leaning media insisting that it was because of sympathies of the Balearic government with Catalonia. While it is fair to say that there are strong sympathies in certain quarters (Més), it is not accurate to say that President Armengol and PSOE are supportive of Catalonian independence or harbour any ambitions regarding Balearic sovereignty.

In Catalonia yesterday, there were numerous meetings ahead of what is expected to be a declaration of independence this evening by Carles Puigdemont. He is due to address the Catalonia parliament at 18.00. There will not be a vote on his statement, but it is understood that he will declare independence and in a "progressive" fashion. This would require negotiation with the Spanish state and/or European mediation, and Puigdemont, it is believed, will stress a willingness for mediation.

There were signs yesterday, though, of concerns being expressed by government members, mayors and others about the risks and about the scope of the declaration. There are fears, quite obviously, about how the Rajoy administration will react, while the flight of companies from Catalonia is adding to calls for moderation in Puigdemont's declaration.

Meanwhile, a report by the Guardia Civil suggests that there has been a "hidden plan" for a strategy of "political and economic instability" to force Madrid into negotiating separation or an agreement for a referendum.