German bank Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) has published an analysis of various tensions around Europe, focused on Catalonia, in which they propose that Germany should act as a mediator between Catalonia and the Spanish state.
"Secessionist efforts pose a problem for the EU: French president Emmanuel Macron would like to push EU integration, the independence initiatives would rather undo integration. Germany must find its way through this conflict in 2018 and, as the nation with the strongest economy, mediate between the extremes, LBBW's expert researchers say," they write.
As well as Germany, LBBW believes that the EU will also have to take action. "They will have to take a stance," the write. In their opinion, the EU is facing a choice between a Europe of regions or a Europe of states. The bank notes that the Spanish government talks of a hypothetical Constitution reform, but refuses to recognise a Catalan state and that if the conflict in Catalonia escalates further there won't be a "permanent solution".
LBBW has a different analysis of the situation of the Catalan economy to that of most Spanish analysts focused on companies moving their registered headquarters, focusing instead on the priority of the political instability not dragging out, not becoming chronic. "We need, in any case, a fast solution to the conflict, because at some point the economic harm can no longer be repaired," they say, quoting Albert Peters, president of Barcelona's Kreis Deutschsprachiger Führungskräfte (Circle of German-speaking Managers).
The report, entitled "EU: Are companies coping with secessionist trends?", analyses what the impact could be for the German economy. Their conclusions avoid scare-mongering. In their opinion, "the effects of the secession attempt in Catalonia seem to be manageable for the German economy".
Firstly, they believe that Eurozone growth "will remain stable despite the Catalan crisis". They note that they predict growth of 2.5% for Spain (less than 2017's 3%, which was "very high"). "Due to the stable progress, the uncertainty brought by the independence vote is no risk for growth," they say.
If the instability continues, LBBW analyses which sectors of interest to the German economy could end up in a delicate situation. They place special emphasis on the automobile industry and SEAT. On the other hand, they see no worry in the public sector or telecommunications, a manageable situation for Basf, Linde and Grohe.