Monday

21st Sep 2020

Juncker: Catalonia's independence vote must be legal

  • "We have always said that we would follow and respect the rulings of the Spanish constitutional court and the decisions of the Spanish parliament," said Juncker (r), with Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy (l) (Photo: European Commission)

The European Commission will accept Catalonia's independence, but only after a legal vote is accepted by Spanish authorities, and with no direct EU accession, commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday (14 September).

"It is obvious that if there is a Yes to Catalonia's independence - that remains to be seen - we will respect that choice," Juncker said in an interview.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or subscribe as a group

"But Catalonia will not be able to become an EU member the morning after," he added. "Catalonia will be submitted to an accession process."

Juncker was answering a question posed to him by an internet user, in an interview - called #AskJuncker - which was broadcast on YouTube and Euronews.

It is the first time the EU executive's chief has made a declaration on the issue ahead of the independence referendum planned for 1 October in Catalonia.

In a message posted on Twitter, the vice-president of the Catalan government, Oriol Junqueras, welcomed a "very important declaration respecting the result of the referendum".

Juncker, however, set an important condition for the EU's recognition of a referendum result.

"We have always said that we would follow and respect the rulings of the Spanish constitutional court and the decisions of the Spanish parliament," he said, insisting that this was already the position of his predecessors, Romano Prodi and Jose Manuel Barroso.

text

Question on Catalonia at 53'

Yet, the Spanish Constitutional Tribunal has ruled that the 1 October referendum is illegal.

It has suspended the Catalan law organising the vote, as well as the so-called 'transition law', which would set out the region's governance in the time between a potential declaration of independence and a separate new Catalan constitution.

Juncker's remark that Catalonia's independence would be recognised only after a legal vote comes as support for the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy.

Rajoy has vowed to prevent the referendum, which he said was an "intolerable act of disobedience".

Another EU institution leader also recently rejected the current planned referendum.

"To go against the constitution would be going against the EU framework," European Parliament president Antonio Tajani said in a letter to a Spanish MEP, which was leaked by El Confidencial, a Spanish news website.

In Thursday's interview, Juncker said that his position was not specific to Catalonia.

"If the North of Luxembourg left the South, the rule would be the same," he said, warning against "separatist adventures".

"Europe is rich because regional traditions are strong," he noted.

"I would not want that the regional traditions set themselves as elements of separatism and fragmentation of Europe," he added.

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.

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 arrests Catalan officials

Armed Spanish police have arrested Catalan officials and seized ballots for an independence referendum, prompting appeals for EU help.

News in Brief

  1. Belarus president puts army on EU borders
  2. US: Lebanese group hoarding explosives in EU states
  3. Russia loses EU sanctions appeal
  4. UK guidelines explain Brexit treaty-violation plan
  5. Over 10,000 corona cases a day in France
  6. Greek police move Moria refugees following fire
  7. WHO warns Europe not to cut 14-day quarantine period
  8. MEPs urge EU Council to 'finally' protect rights in Poland

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. Commissioner: No one will like new EU migration pact
  2. Buying an EU passport 'no use for evading sanctions'
  3. MEPs call for first-ever EU law on Romani inclusion
  4. EU to help draft Libya's strategy on border security
  5. Spain to recognise Kosovo if it gets Serbia deal
  6. Ylva Johansson on Migration and Drama Queens
  7. Does Erdoğan's long arm now reach Belgian universities?
  8. Biden threatens UK trade deal over Brexit shambles

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  2. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  4. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  6. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us