Brussels distances itself from Rajoy on the independence of Catalonia

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By a Vilaweb reporter

EC says that it will not take a position “on the legal consequences” until there is a formal petition from a member state.

The European Commission will take a position “on the legal consequences” of the independence of Catalonia only if the Spanish state demands it in a formal manner “concerning a specific scenario”.
 

By a Vilaweb reporter

EC says that it will not take a position “on the legal consequences” until there is a formal petition from a member state.

The European Commission will take a position “on the legal consequences” of the independence of Catalonia only if the Spanish state demands it in a formal manner “concerning a specific scenario”.

The assurance was given today [Monday] by a Community spokesperson, Pia Ahrenkilde, who also referred to the cases of Scotland and Flanders.  “We will express our opinion on the legal consequences in accordance with European law if a member state requests it on the basis of a specific scenario.”

Coinciding with the day on which the British and Scottish governments sign an agreement for a referendum, the Community spokesperson has said that Brussels needs “a scenario described by a member state in order to evalute the implications for the treaties”, and added that “at the moment there are none” [scenarios].  With this she ruled out an EC pronouncement before independence is declared, and refused to say right away, as Rajoy [Spain’s PM] wanted, that an independent Catalonia would remain outside the EU.  

The reaction from Brussels arrives a few days after having rebuffed pressures from the Spanish Government to define a clear position on the independence of Catalonia.  

In effect, the Spanish foreign minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, sent a letter to the vice-president of the European Commission, Viviane Reding, contradicting her statement that nowhere does it say that Catalonia would remain outside the EU if it declared independence.  Margallo said that Reding’s words were “incorrect”.

Further, the Spanish government has addressed a formal letter to the European Commission demanding that all members explain the position they have on the possible independence of Catalonia and on a new Catalan state forming a part of the EU.  The executive of Rajoy has not ceased saying that Catalonia would remain outside the EU.  

Mas considers “internationalising the conflict”

Artur Mas, the president of the Generalitat, has explained today [Monday] during an interview on TV3 the steps which will be taken in order to be able to consult the people of Catalonia on independence during the next four years.  The the new government is constituted, it will ask to negotiate the terms of a referendum, while the law on the ballot is put before parliament.  If Spain refuses to negotiate, an attempt will be made to hold the ballot making use of Catalan legislation; but if this is ruled out by the Constitutional Court, “we will have to go and explain it to the European courts in order to internationalise the conflict”.

This article was published on Vilaweb.cat in Catalan and appears here in English translation with permission.