December 16 2017

European Union executive calls for Spanish-Catalan talks after referendum violence

December 16 2017, 03:02 | Van Peters

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Hundreds of thousands of people across Catalonia have been protesting over Spanish police violence during the vote, during which almost 900 people were hurt, including 33 police officers.

The separatist-run regional government has called for the European Union to intervene and mediate the dispute, but Timmermans seemed to rule that out.

"Chancellor Merkel is not pursuing a mediation mission".

"Deciding is Spain should break up or stay united is a matter for Spaniards and only for Spaniards", he said.

Although the constitution of Spain was written 40 years ago and society evolved, the text seems to be changeable for matters that benefit the politicians or the monarchy but unchangeable to address the Catalan referendum.

So far, the bloc and most of its governments have sided with Madrid, calling the Catalan referendum illegal and pledging to respect the unity of Spain.

Speaking at a debate on Catalonia in the European Parliament on Wednesday, European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans called for dialogue. "It's time to talk to find a way out of the impasse", he said.

Spanish authorities said the demonstrations hindered the police operation.

"I am here because I want Madrid to hear we are not exhausted and we will not accept to repeat the history of fascism", Francesca Carbonell, a 30-year-old waitress in Barcelona, told ABC News.

Those who participated voted overwhelmingly for independence, a result that was expected since residents who favour remaining part of Spain mainly boycotted the vote.

"A unilateral declaration of independence would amount to a further provocation, which would throw oil on the fire after Sunday's meaningless referendum", the head of the socialist group, Gianni Pittella, told MEPs.

Is a tear imminent in the fabric of Europe, specifically in Spain?

But Spain's European affairs minister, Jorge Toledo, told Politico that the crisis was a Spanish internal matter and that any future discussions must be between the central and regional governments. "You can't stop the youth", said Alfredo Vidal, the 68-year-old owner of a dry-cleaning shop, pointing to the hundreds of students marching slowly by.

But Esteban Gonzalez Pons from Rajoy's Popular Party rejected that suggestion, saying his country could solve the crisis by itself.

If Puigdemont does declare independence, a "transition period" will begin.

She said she had been waiting for that moment for a long time and was afraid of missing her chance to express her right to vote on the independence of Catalonia.

"We're going to declare independence 48 hours after all the official results are counted", he said, according to a BBC translation. The vote was marred by clashes between citizens and Spanish police.

Senior police official Teresa Laplana and pro-independence supporters Jordi Cuixart of Omnium Cultural and Jordi Sanchez of the ANC completes the quartet.

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