Catalonia will declare independence within days, regional leader says

  • Catalonia will declare independence within days, regional leader says

Catalonia will declare independence within days, regional leader says

"We want a new understanding with the Spanish state", the BBC reported.

But after Sunday's violence it was a delicate balancing act for a Spanish sovereign. But Catalan leaders claimed the results showed the region had the right to secede and said they may unilaterally declare independence.

Carles Puigdemont, the region's elected leader, has asked for European Union mediation in negotiations and said Catalonia has "won the right to an independent state".

In Madrid, officials considered the vote a provocation against Spanish sovereignty and Spain's Ministry of Interior called for an emergency meeting.

He said Spain's National Police and Civil Guard anti-riot squads broke into schools designated as polling stations when it was clear that the regional Mossos d'Esquadra police, controlled by the Catalan government, was not carrying out a judge's orders to impede the voting.

The central government in Madrid said the vote, which had a 42 percent level of turnout, is illegal and contravenes the Spanish constitution. What I'd like to do is take all of the people who whistle me at the stadium and bring them out to dinner.

Puigdemont said the statement was "disappointing", and that the vote was "a European issue".

Speaking three days after his government's unilaterally held independence referendum was marred by police violence, Carles Puigdemont said Catalans were united as never before but added he was bitterly disappointed by the king's intervention.

Manfred Weber, a senior member of Chancellor Merkel's conservatives and leader of the European People's Party (EPP) group agreed, saying Europe needed "not more nationalism but more cooperation" and that Catalonia would be outside the EU if it made a decision to leave Spain.

Meanwhile, Madrid comes under growing global pressure to resolve its worst political crisis in decades. The prime minister held talks on Tuesday with national opposition leaders, but no multi-partisan consensus emerged from meetings.

Autonomous Catalonia is Spain's richest region and has a separate language and culture.

"These are hard times, but we will get over them and go forward, because we believe in our country and are proud of what we are". He said they had pushed Catalans "to the brink of a precipice" by encouraging them to vote in an illegal referendum.

EU Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermanns defended Madrid's right to use force and called on both sides to resolve the crisis through dialogue.

The Commission has not responded to calls from the Catalan authorities to mediate, insisting it is a matter for Spaniards themselves.

European Union chief Donald Tusk, while sharing Spain's reasoning for not recognizing the referendum, appealed to Rajoy to "avoid further escalation and use of force".