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Spanish PM proposes referendum on additional autonomy for Catalonia

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez proposed holding a referendum on granting additional autonomy to Catalonia but ruled out allowing a vote on whether the region should have full independence from Spain, the Financial Times reported.

"At the end [of negotiations] there has to be a vote on whether to strengthen the self-government of Catalonia; a referendum on self-government," Sánchez reportedly said in an interview with Cadena SER.

Sánchez has tried to mend relations between Barcelona and Madrid since taking office as prime minister this year, the FT said. The government under Sánchez's predecessor, Mariano Rajoy, took direct control of Catalonia in October 2017 after the region's parliament unilaterally declared independence from Spain.

Catalonia's regional president, Quim Torra, has refused to settle for a referendum on additional powers and is instead calling for "permanent mobilization" in the region against Madrid, the FT said. The ongoing crisis had prompted the Bank of Spain to cut its economic growth forecasts for the next two years.