22nd Mar 2018

EU Commission calls for dialogue in Catalan crisis

  • A Guardia Civil officer with Catalan pro-independence protesters during a protest ahead of the referendum. (Photo: Jordi Boixareu/ZUMA Wire/dpa)

The European Commission said Monday (2 October) that Sunday's referendum in Catalonia was illegal and called on parties to begin dialogue following a violent crackdown on the vote by the Spanish authorities.

Over 800 people were injured on Sunday, according to Catalan authorities, as Spanish national police raided polling stations where votes were being cast. The independence referendum has been ruled unconstitutional by the Spanish constitutional court.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"We call on all relevant players to now move very swiftly from confrontation to dialogue. Violence can never be an instrument in politics," the EU commission's spokesman, Margaritis Schinas, said.

"These are times for unity and stability, not divisiveness and fragmentation," he added.

However, the European Commission sees no role for itself as a mediator between Spanish and Catalan authorities after Sunday's violence, and failed to clearly condemn the police brutality.

"This is an internal matter for Spain that has to be dealt with in line with the constitutional order of Spain," Schinas said.

He added that the EU executive continues to "trust the leadership of prime minister Mariano Rajoy to manage this difficult process in full respect of the Spanish constitution and of the fundamental rights of citizens enshrined therein."

EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker is to hold a phone conversation with Rajoy later on Monday.

A debate on the situation could be held in the European Parliament this week.

The EU commission also restated that if Catalonia were to secede legally - in agreement with Madrid - it would end up outside the EU and would have to apply separately to join the bloc.

Preliminary results, according to Catalan authorities, showed that about 90 percent of the total votes cast were in favour of a split from Spain.

Less than 43 percent of the region's 5.3 million eligible voters took part in the disputed referendum.

EU stays mute on Catalonia

EU leaders and institutions largely remain silent, despite calls to condemn the brutal police crackdown at polling stations in Catalonia during its disputed independence vote.

Catalonia's separatists claim victory after violent day

"The citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state," the region's leader, Carles Puigdemont, said at the end of a day marked by Spanish police violence inside and outside polling stations.

EU 'embarrassed' by Catalan 'taboo'

Faced with the growing tension between the Spanish and Catalan governments, the member states and EU institutions would prefer not to get involved.

Spain and Catalonia in referendum showdown

Barcelona vowed to hold a vote and Madrid vowed to prevent one on the eve of Sunday's planned independence referendum. The deadlock has prompted criticism of Rajoy.


Black day for democracy in Spain

A state that uses violence on its own citizens who are in the process of enacting their democratic rights raises the urgent and difficult question of whether it still may call itself democratic.

EU Commission's credibility eroding, says Catalonia

A former commission official who now represents the Catalan government says some European commissioners do not agree with the EU commission's official statement on Catalonia's bid for independence from Spain.


The populists may have won, but Italy won't leave the euro

The situation as Rome tries to form a government is turbulent and unpredictable. However, the most extreme eurosceptic policies floated during the election campaign are unlikely to happen - not least due to the precarious state of the Italian banks.


Why has central Europe turned so eurosceptic?

Faced with poorer infrastructure, dual food standards and what can seem like hectoring from western Europe it is not surprising some central and eastern European member states are rebelling.

News in Brief

  1. EU to have 'immediate' trade talks with Trump
  2. Separatist activist renounces Catalonia leadership candidacy
  3. EU puts conditions on Bayer-Monsanto merger
  4. Hard Brexit would hit poorer Irish households hardest
  5. Finland hosts secretive North Korean talks
  6. EU to unveil 3% tax on digital giants
  7. German elected S&D leader in European Parliament
  8. Germany: nearly €350m child benefit goes abroad

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  2. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  3. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  4. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  5. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  6. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions
  7. EU mulls coercion to get refugee kids' fingerprints
  8. Five east European states prevent new CAP consensus