January 16, 2018
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
Collapse of Carillion fuels UK debate about public role of private companies

London, Jan 15 (efe-epa).- One of the United Kingdom government's biggest contractors entered liquidation proceedings Monday after weekend rescue talks...

Airbus halting A380 production in 2018 if unable to secure 6 annual orders

Paris, Jan 15 (efe-epa).- European aircraft maker Airbus on Monday said it would halt the production-line of its a-380 wide-bodied double-decker large...

Strikes against new reforms leave Athens traffic paralyzed

Athens, Jan 15 (efe-epa).- Another series of strikes and protests hit Greece on Monday, totally paralyzing public transport in the capital Athens which led...

EU expresses concern over death, arrests of Palestinian minors

Jerusalem, Jan 12 (efe-epa).- The mission of the European Union in Ramallah and Jerusalem on Friday expressed its concern after the recent arrests of...

EU Commission grants over $200 million to promotion of agricultural products

Brussels, Jan 12 (efe-epa).- The European Commission on Friday announced it had made 169 million euros ($205 million) available for projects and programs...

Bulgarian PM advocates normalizing EU's ties with Turkey, Russia

Sofia, Jan 12 (efe-epa).- Bulgaria's prime minister on Friday advocated for the normalization of ties between the European Union and Turkey and Russia,...

Portugal's finance minister takes over Eurogroup presidency

Paris, Jan 12 (efe-epa).- Portugal's finance minister on Friday attended a ceremony marking his election to president of the Eurogroup, substituting his...

Czechs cast their vote in presidential elections, incumbent favorite to win

Prague, Jan 12 (efe-epa).- Presidential elections were underway in the Czech Republic on Friday in a vote that was expected to be won by the incumbent head...

French President Emmanuel Macron visits the Domus Aurea

Rome, Jan 11 (efe-epa).- The French president met with the Italian prime minister in Rome on Thursday in a bid to make progress towards a bilateral pact...

Italy sets out its key priorities for its OSCE chairmanship

Vienna, Jan 11 (efe-epa).- Finding a solution to the ongoing violent conflict in Ukraine, further cooperation in the Mediterranean Sea and confronting the...

EU urges Myanmar to investigate violence against Rohingyas in Rakhine

Bangkok, Jan 11 (efe-epa).- The European Union's delegation in Myanmar on Thursday urged the government to launch a thorough and credible investigation into...

EU diplomats offer strong message in favor of Iran deal amid US reticence

Brussels, Jan 11 (efe-epa).- The European Union's foreign affairs chief on Thursday strongly reinforced the bloc's continued commitment to the international...

Catalan separatist leaders appear at Spain court for sedition probe

Madrid, Jan 11 (efe-epa).- Three leading figures behind the independence movement in Spain's northeastern region of Catalonia on Thursday appeared at the...

Paris Mayor calls for Solidarity Night volunteers to count city's homeless

Paris,Jan 10 (efe-epa).- The Mayor of Paris presented her 2018 wishlist at a City Hall press conference on Wednesday where, among other initiatives, she...

Airlifts the only way to leave snowed-in Swiss ski resort of Zermatt

Zermatt (Switzerland), Jan 10 (efe-epa).- Heavy snowfalls on the upscale Swiss ski resort of Zermatt have for a second day left some 13,000 tourists...

Macron urges more European unity to deal with China, US as equals

Beijing, Jan 10 (efe-epa).- The French president on Wednesday urged the European Union to show greater unity and ambition in order to deal with superpowers...

Exploratory talks for German grand coalition head into final day

Berlin, Jan 10 (efe-epa).- The German chancellor's conservative bloc on Wednesday entered a final day of exploratory talks aimed at persuading the...

Ex-leader of Spain's Catalonia seeks regional presidency from Brussels exile

Barcelona, Spain, Jan 10 (efe-epa).- The sacked ex-president of Spain's Catalonia region, who currently found himself in self-imposed exile in Brussels, is...

Ex-Spain minister, IMF head denies criminal wrongdoing in handling of economy

Madrid, Jan 9 (efe-epa).- A former Spanish government minister and one-time head of the International Monetary Fund appeared in Parliament on Tuesday to...

Polish PM conducts sweeping cabinet reshuffle in bid to sooth EU tensions

Warsaw, Jan 9 (efe-epa).- Poland's prime minister on Tuesday made sweeping changes to his cabinet that affected top government roles in a reshuffle widely...

Spain PM tells investors that government response to Catalonia was faultless

Madrid, Jan 9 (efe-epa).- Spain's conservative prime minister on Tuesday described his government's response to Catalonia's independence declaration as...

EU proposes inclusive reconstruction plan, return to rule of law for Iraq

Brussels, Jan 8, (EFE).- The European Union unveiled on Monday a strategy proposal to help Iraq to recover after the defeat of the Islamic State terror...

Portugal's unemployment figure drops in Nov. to its lowest figure since 2004

Lisbon, Dec 8 (EFE).- Portugal's unemployment rate dropped in Nov. to its lowest rate since 2004, according to the country's national statistics office...

UK PM begins cabinet overhaul as Northern Ireland secretary resigns

London, Jan 8 (efe-epa).- The United Kingdom's secretary of state for Northern Ireland on Monday tendered his resignation on medical grounds while the...

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