October 23, 2017
Latest News
European Union

Catalan president suspends region's bid for independence from rest of Spain

Barcelona, Spain, Oct 10 (efe-epa).- The president of the northeastern region of Catalonia on Tuesday said a referendum had given validity to his government's bid for unilateral independence but asked the Catalan parliament to suspend the secession to allow time for dialogue with Madrid.

Spain's judiciary had ruled that the referendum, which was held on Oct. 1 despite attempts by Spanish police to prevent it, was illegal.

Speaking at Catalonia's regional parliament, a grim-faced Puigdemont said, "I want to abide by the people's will for Catalonia to become independent," adding, "we propose to suspend the effects of the declaration of independence."

So, while Puigdemont said that the result of the referendum had given him a mandate to create an independent state of Catalonia in the form of a republic, he acknowledged there was a need to engage in talks to arrive at what he called an agreed solution to the prosperous region's political unrest.

"There is a call for dialogue from across Europe because Europe calls for a solution, for us to set some time aside for talks," Puigdemont told his regional parliament.

The regional leader, who had been addressing the lawmakers in Catalan, then broke off to speak in Spanish.

"We are not delinquents, we are not crazy, we are not coup plotters, we have not become brainwashed," he said in Spanish.

"We are normal people who ask for the right to vote," he added. "We have nothing against Spain or the Spanish people, on the contrary, we want to be better understood because our mutual relationship does not work."

Puigdemont accepted that the Constitution, which the highest court in the land cited as the basis for declaring the referendum unlawful, did provide Spain with a democratic framework, but said that "there is democracy beyond the Constitution."

Immediately after his speech, opposition parliamentarians began attacking Puigdemont. A Spanish government spokesman told EFE that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's executive could not accept that a referendum that has already been ruled illegal by the Constitutional Court be validated in the Catalan regional parliament.

The spokesman told EFE that it was also inadmissible for Puigdemont to make an implicit declaration of independence but later leave it suspended.

Mirroring that sentiment, the leader of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), Miquel Iceta, told Puigdemont he could not delay a declaration he had not actually been able to make, adding the referendum had divided, rather than united, the Catalan people.

Inés Arrimadas, spokeswoman for Ciudadanos _ a business-friendly, anti-independence political formation that is the regional parliament's second-largest party _ told Puigdemont that his political project had attracted absolutely no support from elsewhere in Europe.

"No one in Europe supports what you have just done, Mr Puigdemont," she said. "You have even broken peaceful coexistence among Catalans," she added, criticizing the effect his policies have had domestically as well.

The referendum had attracted international attention after media captured images of Spanish National Police and Civil Guards breaking into polling stations, removing ballot boxes and dispersing crowds while wielding batons and firing rubber bullets.

Puigdemont's speech was broadcast live in Barcelona's downtown squares where thousands of supporters had gathered in anticipation of hearing that the region would break away from Spain.

Cheers erupted when he said, "At this point I assume the mandate of the Catalan people to become an independent state."

But the celebratory scenes were rapidly dampened when he followed up with his proposal to put the secession on hold to allow for talks with Rajoy's government.

The left-wing pro-independence Popular Unity Candidacy's (CUP) regional spokeswoman Anna Gabriel expressed her disappointment at the Catalan government's apparent U-turn.

"We thought that what was going to happen was the solemn proclamation of a Catalan republic. We believed that this was what was due to happen today," she added.

She said that Catalonia had perhaps missed its chance because she believed that "the only means of negotiation with the Spanish state is a Catalan republic."

News history
Spanish PM's Catalonia measures raise mixed reactions among politicians

Madrid, Oct 21 (efe-epa).- The Spanish Prime minister's announcement on Saturday that the Senate would be voting on a series of measures to roll back...

Spanish cabinet begins emergency meeting to bring Catalonia under direct rule

Madrid, Oct 21 (efe-epa).- The Prime MInister of Spain on Saturday gathered his council of ministers for an emergency meeting to begin hammering out the...

After 75 years, remains of the battle of El Alamein lie in Egypt's desert

Alamein, Egypt, Oct 20 (efe-epa).- The arid desert of Alamein in northwestern Egypt on Friday continued to bear the traces of one of the most crucial...

EU inches forward on Brexit talks but says progress is still not enough

Brussels, Oct 20 (efe-epa).- European Union leaders said Friday they were set to begin preparations for the next phase of Brexit talks, but noted that...

Spanish PM defends obligation to act in critical situation in Catalonia

Brussels, Oct 20 (efe-epa).- The situation with secessionist developments in the region of Catalonia has reached a critical point, the Prime Minister of...

Spain poised to rein in Catalonia's regional autonomy

Barcelona (Spain), Oct 10 (efe-epa).- Spain’s prime minister is poised to exercise constitutional powers to impose tighter control on Catalonia, plunging...

UK's PM May: Brexit divorce bill will come when final deal is struck with EU

Brussels, Oct 20 (efe-epa).- The amount of money the United Kingdom will have to pay to the European Union to cover its outstanding commitments to the bloc...

EU agrees to prepare negotiations on post-Brexit relations with the UK

Brussels, Oct 20 (efe-epa).- Leaders of 27 of the European Union member states on Friday agreed to begin to prepare the second phase of Brexit negotiations...

Brexit takes center stage as Brussels EU summit enters second day

Brussels, Oct 20 (efe-epa).- European Union leaders on Friday convened for the second day of a key summit in Brussels where the topic of Brexit is set to be...

European Union leaders begin summit focused on defense, migration, Brexit

Brussels, Oct 19 (efe-epa).- Leaders of the European Union members states on Thursday began a two-day summit in Brussels that is scheduled to center on...

UK PM seeks to urgently secure citizens' rights in Brexit negotiations

Brussels, Oct 19 (efe-epa).- The British prime minister on Thursday appealed for urgency in securing citizens' rights in Brexit negotiations but insisted...

First day of European Council Meeting in Brussels

Rome, Oct 19,(efe-epa).- Three sons of a Maltese investigative journalist killed in a car bomb attack demanded on Thursday profound change in how the...

Spain government takes 1st steps towards rescinding Catalan regional autonomy

Madrid, Oct 19 (efe-epa).- The Spanish government announced Thursday that it is to hold an emergency cabinet meeting to approve the measures which will...

Catalan leader refuses to cancel independence bid, impasse with Spain ongoing

Barcelona, Oct 19 (efe-epa).- The leader of Catalonia on Thursday penned a new letter to the Spanish Prime Minister in which he decided not to rescind his...

Catalan leader could avoid direct Madrid rule if he calls local elections

Madrid, Oct 18 (efe-epa).- The Spanish government could put its plans to freeze Catalonia's self-rule on hold if the Catalan leader calls local elections...

OECD: Rising inequality among aging population to increase in coming years

Paris, Oct 18 (EFE).- Inequality among older people will continue to build up in the future, with an increased risk of falling under the poverty line at an...

Merkel kicks off preliminary talks on forming new government coalition

Berlin, Oct 18 (efe-epa).- The acting German chancellor on Wednesday began initial talks looking toward the formation of a new government coalition.

Spain PM Rajoy makes final call for Catalan leader to revoke independence bid

Madrid, Oct 17 (efe-epa).- With less than 24 hours until an official deadline that could see Catalonia's autonomy suspended by Madrid as a reprisal for...

OECD advises UK to maintain close ties with EU to tackle Brexit challenges

London, Oct 17 (efe-epa).- The Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned Tuesday that maintaining close ties...

Catalan protests urge Spain to free separatist leaders held in sedition probe

Barcelona, Oct 17 (efe-epa).- Hundreds of people in Catalonia took part in protests on Tuesday calling for the release of two separatist figureheads who...

Thousands protest in Ukraine demanding anti-corruption measures

Kiev, Oct 17, (efe-epa).- Thousands of demonstrators protested Tuesday in front of the Ukrainian parliament urging the government to take measures against...

At least 37 killed, 71 injured in Portugal wildfires, now under control

Lisbon, Oct 17 (efe-epa).- The number of people killed by hundreds of devastating wildfires in areas of central and northern Portugal has risen to 37, while...

Spain's renowned cava maker Codorniu moves headquarters out of Catalonia

Barcelona, Spain, Oct 16 (efe-epa).- The company renowned for having first developed cava, Spain's renowned sparkling wine, on Monday joined an exodus of...

Merkel congratulates Kurz on his Austrian election win, hopes for cooperation

Berlin, Oct 16 (EFE).- The German chancellor on Monday congratulated the leader of the Austrian People's Party for his win in his country's legislative...

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.