Saturday

17th Apr 2021

Spain's PM appeals to court over Catalan independence

  • "We need restraint, moderation and common sense," said Spanish PM Rajoy. (Photo: María Dolores de Cospedal)

The Spanish government and Catalan authorities took a step further on Friday (28 July), in their showdown ahead of an independence referendum planned for 1 October in Catalonia.

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy announced that he would appeal to the Constitutional Tribunal against a text, passed in the Catalan parliament earlier this week, which would facilitate the adoption of a bill to organise the referendum.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The government "is ensuring legality, and the defence of Catalan institutions and their functioning," Rajoy said in a press conference after a cabinet meeting.

The reform of the parliament's rules, passed by Catalan MPs on Tuesday, allows a political group to push a bill through an emergency single reading, reducing the time for debates and the possibilities for amendments.

A draft referendum bill was presented early July, which says the parliament would declare Catalonia's independence "within two days" if voters opt for it on 1 October.

The Catalan parliament's reform would "liquidate national sovereignty," Rajoy said on Friday.

He decided to appeal to the Constitutional Tribunal after the Council of State, an advisory body, said that there was enough "legal ground to appeal over unconstitutionality".

Rajoy also insisted that the referendum "will not take place", because the Constitutional Tribunal already said, last year, that it would be illegal.

But last month, Catalan leader Puigdemont told EUobserver and a group of journalists that "nothing will stop" the vote from taking place.

On Friday, while Rajoy was deciding to go to the Constitutional Tribunal, the Catalan parliament continued to prepare for the possibility of independence and adopted a fiscal code to create a Catalan tax administration.

On Monday, the parties of the Catalan ruling coalition, Junt per si and CUP, are expected to officially table the referendum bill, which could be adopted under the new rule in a parliament session on 6 September.

"We need to go back to normality and, for that, the Catalan government must hear that it cannot announce to everyone that it wants to liquidate the law," Rajoy said in his press conference.

"We need restraint, moderation and common sense," he said, adding that the government would defend the law "with serenity and restraint."

Last week, the Spanish government announced that Catalonia's public accounts would be monitored to ensure that no public money is used to organise the referendum and that civil servants do not participate organising it.

In recent days, the Guardia Civil, the Spanish law enforcement agency, also questioned Catalan officials as part of an investigation over sedition, perversion of justice and embezzlement.

Asked about the growing tensions, a European Commission spokeswoman told journalists on Thursday that the EU executive does not "comment or get involved in such national ongoing proceedings."

This article was corrected on Friday at 16.50. It originally said that the reform of the Catalan parliament procedure would facilitate a vote to declare independence, whereas in fact it would facilitate the adoption of the bill calling for the independence referendum.

Feature

Catalonia ponders independence 'leap of faith'

Ahead of a referendum on 1 October, Catalans are almost united on the need to go to the ballot box. But they are divided on the question, and uncertain about the result and the consequences.

Spain prepares to stop Catalan vote

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has said he is ready call an extraordinary cabinet meeting if Catalonia's authorities table a bill to organise the vote on 1 October.

Catalan authorities call independence vote

After a tense session, the regional parliament adopted a bill organising a referendum on 1 October. The Spanish government has promised a "serene but firm" response to prevent the vote.

News in Brief

  1. EU postpones decision on labelling gas 'sustainable'
  2. MEPs call for mass surveillance ban in EU public spaces
  3. Greek and Turkish ministers trade jibes in Ankara
  4. Biden repeats opposition to Russia-Germany pipeline
  5. Navalny in danger, letter warns EU foreign ministers
  6. Lithuania keen to use Denmark's AstraZeneca vaccines
  7. Gas plants largest source of power-sector emissions
  8. Study: Higher risk of blood clots from Covid than vaccines

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. US rejects Slovenia-linked plan to break up Bosnia
  2. Ukraine urges Borrell to visit Russia front line
  3. Could US sanctions hit Russia vaccine sales to EU?
  4. Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman
  5. Political crises in Romania and Bulgaria amid third wave
  6. Von der Leyen's summer plans undisclosed, after Ukraine snub
  7. Over a million EU citizens back farm-animal cage ban
  8. Three options for West on Putin's Ukraine build-up

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us