Thursday

22nd Feb 2024

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

Get the EU news that really matters

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.

Feature

Only Palestinians paying thousands of dollars leave Gaza

Despite the high risk of dying from war, starvation or disease, Gazans are still not allowed to enter Egypt. Except those who bribe the authorities. And the EU mission EUBAM Rafah cannot be deployed due to security reasons.

'Nightmare' 2024 sees Orbán struggle ahead of EU elections

Viktor Orbán admits that 2024 "could not have started any worse" for his government. The sex-abuse scandal that led to the resignation of the president provides an opportunity for Hungary's opposition — but their fragmentation could be a major obstacle.

Latest News

  1. EU auditors: rule-of-law budget protections only partial success
  2. EU's €723bn Covid recovery fund saw growth, but doubts remain
  3. Von der Leyen rejects extremist parties, leaves door open to ECR
  4. Russian oligarchs failed to get off EU blacklist
  5. Podcast: Navalny, Ian Bremmer and "more Europe"
  6. Only Palestinians paying thousands of dollars leave Gaza
  7. Ukraine refugees want to return home — but how?
  8. African leaders unveil continent-wide plan to buy medicines

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us