Spanish Prime Minister: Scotland and Catalonia are ‘absolutely and totally different’ cases

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   By a Newsnet reporter

After meeting with David Cameron in Madrid on Monday, the Spanish Prime Minster Mariano Rajoy has stressed that the cases of Scotland and Catalonia are “absolutely and totally different”.

Mr Rajoy made the statement during a press conference at the Palace of Moncloa, the seat of the Spanish government,  however Mr Rajoy said that neither he nor Mr Cameron mentioned “a single word” on the independence referendums due to be held in Scotland and Catalonia.

Mr Rajoy insisted that Scotland and Catalonia present “different realities” because in Scotland the referendum is being carried out “in accordance with the law” and within the framework of the UK constitutional settlement. 

The Spanish Constitution prohibits any part of Spanish territory from seeking self-determination.  Mr Rajoy “guaranteed” that he would do everything possible to ensure that the Spanish Constitution, which was adopted in 1978 after the death of the dictator Franco, would be respected. 

Mr Rajoy said:

“I am with the Spanish Constitution; I believe in the Spanish nation, the oldest in Europe, with unarguably a great future ahead.  It does not seem just to me to deprive some citizens who live in Catalonia of their status as Spaniards.”

Article 2 of the Spanish Constitution states that it is founded in “the indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards”.   The article was inserted into the democratic constitution at the insistence of Spanish army generals during the fraught negotiations with the military as the country transitioned to democracy.

In previous comments, the Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo said that if Scotland achieved independence as the result of a legal and constitutionally recognised referendum, the Spanish government would “have nothing to say” on the matter.

Spain has refused to recognise the sovereignty of Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008.  Senior members of the Spanish government have stated that the Spanish refusal to recognise Kosovo is because the Albanian inhabited region declared independence without negotiations with Serbia, which refuses to accept Kosovan independence.

The recent comments from Mr Rajoy and Mr García-Margallo make it clear that the Spanish government does not place Scottish independence in the same category as Kosovan independence or the possible independence of Catalonia.

Mr Cameron’s visit to the Spanish capital was cut short due to the announcement of the death of Margaret Thatcher.