Spanish minister warns against Catalonia independence vote

Spanish minister warns against Catalonia independence vote

6Madrid, Sep 17 (IANS) Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo warned that if Catalonia region continues with plans to hold an independence referendum Nov 9, the regions status as an autonomous community could be at risk.

The Catalan Parliament is pressing on with plans to hold the referendum, despite warnings from Madrid that the vote is illegal under the current terms of the Spanish Constitution, Xinhua reported.

Speaking at press conference Tuesday, Garcia-Margallo said the government would consider all options in the process, including ending the autonomy of Catalonia.

“I can only use the law, but the full weight of the law to stop the referendum, which is against the law and which would produce negative results for Catalonia, Spain and the European Union,” the minister said.

“Within the boundaries of the Constitution everything is possible but outside of that boundary, nothing is possible,” he added.

The past few days have seen a marked increase in tension in relations between Catalonia and Madrid in the wake of the Catalan National Day, celebrated Nov 11, when around a million people took to the streets of Barcelona to demand the right to vote.

The spokesman for the Basque Nationalist Party in the Spanish Congress, Aitor Esteban, said that Garcia-Margallo’s words were “very strong,” and asked if using all legal mechanisms also included “sending tanks,” to Catalonia.

The Catalan nationalists Ezquerra Republicana (Republican Left) said the minister’s words were “incendiary” and showed “fanaticism and intransigence” in the words of spokesman Alfred Bosche.

“We ask a bit of thought from Garia-Margallo, he should stop being so provocative and have a bit of intelligence as they (Britain) has with Scotland, where the issue is being resolved through the ballot box,” said Bosch.

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