Catalonia will declare unilateral independence from Spain on Monday, separatist leaders said on the fifth, in open defiance of Madrid and in absence of any heavyweight support from Europe.
Leaders of Catalonia’s pro – independence parties met on the fifth to schedule a special session in the region’s parliament for the start of next week. The only item on the agenda is a speech by Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia’s president, “to evaluate the results and effects ” of last sunday’s referendum, deemed illegal by spain’s courts.
Mireia Boya, a spokesman for the left – wing CUP party, part of the majority in the assembly, said Monday ‘s session would see “a proclamation of independence and the Catalan republic”.
” Even though there are arrests and court suspensions, that won’t stop the session going ahead” she said.
The leaders of the major pro – European Union groups in the European parliament have warned the Catalan government against declaring independence, saying the move will cause “a fatal fracture ” and cost Catalonia its EU membership.
During a debate in Strasburg, called after shocking scenes of police brutality during last sunday ‘s ballot, the presidents of the centre – right European peoples’ party , the socialists and democrafts, and the ALDE liberal group, three of the four largest political groups, on the 5th insisted that Catalonia remain part of Spain.
Guy Verhofstadt, the parliment’s Brexit coordinator and president of ALDE, which has both Catalan and spanish MEPs, accused the catalan goverment of “manipultation and deception ” and said the referendum lacked democratic legitimacy.
Belgium’s philippe lamberts, the co – head of the influential European Greens in parlimant warned that the crisis “threatned the spirit of European intergration, even more than Brexit.”
The European commission has encouraged spain and Catalonia to engage in dialogue, but has not offered to mediate.
Puigdemont said earlier he expected the declaration of independence to be made early next week.
Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s conservative prime minister,has yet to announce what strategy his government will adopt if such a declaration takes place, amid speculation that tha government is preparing to trigger a never- before -used article in Spain’s consiuation which would grant Madrid powers to override Catalonia’s authorities.
On the 5th, the chief of Catalonia’s police force was summoned by a judge under the accusation of sedition. Major Josep Lluis Trapero could face 15 years in prison after his Mossos d’Esquadra force allegedley failed to offer protection to Spanish police investigators raiding a Catalan goverment building.
– Telegraph Group. -