Spain refuses to request a ruling from the EU on Catalan independence


  By a Vilaweb reporter

The Commission said it would not give a position until it has a request, but the Spanish government does not find it necessary.

The Spanish government has ruled out requesting the European Commission for a legal ruling on an eventual independence of Catalonia and the continuity of the Catalan state in the EU.  It says that it does not see it as necessary, despite the declarations of spokespersons of the Commission, who have left it clear that they will not make a definitive statement on an independent Catalonia until a formal request has been made on the part of the Spanish state.

According to a report from the press agency Europa Press, the Spanish government considers that EU treaties already leave it clear that an independent Catalonia would remain outside the EU, and that it “would have to join the queue to apply for membership”, which would have to be ratified unanimously by all member states.  That is to say, Spain would have the right of veto.  

The Spanish government considers that the letter sent by Viviane Reding to the Spanish authorities the past 4th of October said as much.  On the other hand, Olivier Bailly, a spokesman for the Commission, denied this. “I don’t read it that way”, he said.

[A video of the press conference where Mr Bailly made this statement was published in Vilaweb here. Newsnet Scotland has embedded it at the end of this article.  Mr Bailly is speaking in French and the video contains Catalan subtitles.  An English translation has been provided.]

And he recalled that the European Union would still not make a statement on the hypothesis of an independent Catalonia. “There must be a precise situation and a member state requests that we make a pronouncement,” he stated, insisting once again on the position that the European Commission has maintained these past few weeks.  

Video of EC Spokesman Olivier Bailly

The news conference in which Mr Bailly made his statement was held after the publication of Ms Reding’s letter in El Pais newspaper on Monday.  The EC spokesperson denied that the letter meant that Catalonia would have to leave the EU, as stated by Johann Lamont in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.  The English translation is as follows.

Catalonia outside the EU? I don’t read it that way

Statement of the spokesman for the European Commission, Olivier Bailly.

Q: Commissioner Reding went a little further in the letter.  She said that in this scenario Catalonia would remain outside the European Union.  Is this also the position of the Union?

That is not what I read in the letter.  Not at all.  The president has been very clear in respect of the fact that there are rules to treaties.  And that a clear scenario is necessary.  Until such moment arrives we will not respond to specific questions about the possible scenario.  Not until the day it is presented.  And the request about this scenario must be made by a member state of the European Union.  At the moment we are not at that point.  And therefore I have no more to say about it.

This article and the accompanying video were originally published on in Catalan and are published here in English translation by kind permission.