European Commission President “very worried” about separatist tendencies in Europe
Just a day after clashes broke out in Spain between Catalan independence supporters and pro-unity followers during the National Day celebrations, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has today expressed concern about separatist tendencies in Europe and how he had asked Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to stop the Catalans “running amok”.
Speaking at a forum in Luxembourg today, Juncker told media how he was “very worried” about separatist tendencies in Europe and did not want Catalonia to become independent as it would encourage other regions to do the same: “If we allow Catalonia — and it is none of our business — to separate, others will do the same. I do not want that.”
Just yesterday, Spain’s royal family attended a National Day military parade amid a political crisis sparked by Catalonia’s disputed independence referendum. Some 65,000 people gathered in the Catalan capital to mark Spain’s national day where videos reportedly showed two rival groups hurling metal chairs at each other in central Barcelona.
In a widely-anticipated speech this Tuesday, Catalan president Puigdemont had told the regional parliament that the people of Catalonia had won the right to independence following the referendum vote on October 1 where almost 90% of voters had backed independence from Spain. But because the turnout was just 43%, the voting was deemed illegal and suspended by Spain’s Constitutional Court.
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Puigdemont then told the parliament to suspend the majority “yes” vote in favor of independence and called for a dialogue with the Spanish government.
Following his speech on October 10, Rajoy had responded the next day by demanding a clarification on his position on the independence declaration. The clock is now ticking for Puigdemont towards the deadline set by Rajoy, not following which may result in the suspension of self-rule from Barcelona.