EU says Catalonia vote ‘internal’ issue for Spain
The European Union said Monday the landmark victory of Catalan separatists in elections was a subject for Spain to deal with internally.
Spain was plunged into uncertainty after groups that want to break Spain’s richest region away as a new state in Europe won control of Catalonia’s parliament on Sunday.
“The European Commission, as you know, as a matter of principle does not comment on regional elections. This is a domestic issue for Spain,” Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters.
“It is not for the Commission to express a position on questions of internal organisation related to the constitutional arrangements of a particular member state.”
Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, was “informed” of the result but had not had any immediate contacts with the government in Madrid and regional government in Catalonia, Schinas said.
However, the European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation EU, has previously said that an independent Catalonia would have to reapply for entry to the bloc as a state in its own right.
The position, set out by then-Commission president Romano Prodi in 2004 and repeated by his successors since, states that “when a part of the territory of a Member State ceases to be a part of that state, e.g. because that territory becomes an independent state, the treaties will no longer apply to that territory.
“In other words, a newly independent region would, by the fact of its independence, become a third country with respect to the Union and the treaties would, from the day of its independence, not apply anymore on its territory.”