Thursday

2nd Apr 2020

Spanish parliament rejects Catalan independence bid

  • The Catalan National Assembly wants the region to declare independence from Spain by 23 April next year (Photo: Paco Riviere)

Spain’s parliament on Tuesday (8 April) overwhelmingly rejected Catalonia’s bid to call for a referendum on independence.

There were 299 votes against a proposal by Catalan leader Artur Mas to have an independence poll. Only 47 MPs from the Catalan and Basque nationalist parties voted in favour of the petition. One MP abstained.

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 join as a group

Centre-right Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told the deputies before the vote that he could not “conceive of Spain without Catalonia nor of Catalonia outside of Spain and Europe.”

Spain's governing centre-right Partido Popular and the socialist opposition party have argued the referendum would breach the country'S 1978 constitution.

Rajoy says polls on sovereignty must be held nationally, a position backed Spain's constitutional court.

The court last month ruled a change in the constitution would be required for the unilateral poll to take place.

But Mas after the parliament vote said his regional government would anyway go ahead with the referendum, set for early November, reports the BBC.

“Some would like to present this as the end of the matter but, as president of Catalonia, I say to them that it is not the end,” he said.

Polls suggest around half of Catalans are in favour of independence.

The region, which accounts for more than 20 percent of Spain's GDP, wants greater control over its own economy, social services, and politics.

Snap elections in Catalonia last November saw separatist politicians take some two-thirds of the 135 seats in the Catalan parliament.

The parliament in December said the referendum would ask voters if they want Catalonia to be a state or an independent state.

Pro-separatist defenders say the north-eastern region has the legal right to organise a referendum after Spain’s parliament granted it an autonomy statute in 2006.

“From this painful 'no', the Catalan institutions will seek to build legal frameworks, and there are several, allowing for this November 9 ballot to take place,” said Mas, reports the AFP.

The European Commission, for its part, says an independent Catalonia would have to reapply to become a member of the European Union.

Already doubts over Belgium's new 'anti-corona government'

Belgium's King Philippe has given interim prime minister Sophie Wilmès the task of forming a government, after seven opposition parties agreed to support it. The agreement came after a political drama - and there are doubts if it will hold.

Analysis

What does Erdoğan want?

By opening Turkey's border, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants to push Europe into supporting him in Ankara's negotiations with Russia's Vladimir Putin for a deal on Syria's Idlib.

Five new post-Brexit MEPs to watch

Five MEPs to keep an eye on from the 27 new members who are joining the European Parliament this week, following the UK's departure from the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. Journalism hit hard by corona crisis
  2. EU fighting shortages and faulty medical supplies
  3. New EU navy operation to keep migrant details secret
  4. MEP: Constituents are our window into this tragedy
  5. Without European patriotism, EU decline is inevitable
  6. EU cancels April Fool's 'fake news'
  7. A coronavirus 'Marshall Plan' alone won't be nearly enough
  8. Trying to think straight about coronavirus

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us