Catalan-born French PM calls for 'united, strong' Spain

28th September 2015, Comments 0 comments

France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who was born in Barcelona, called on Monday for Spain to remain "united and strong" a day after the election victory of Catalan separatists.

"I am careful as prime minister of France not to intervene in the debate of another country. But I am convinced that in these difficult moments we need a united and strong Spain, because Spain is a partner in many areas," Valls told reporters in southern France.

Valls was born in the Catalan capital, the son of a local painter. He became a French citizen after moving to France as a teenager.

"The splitting, division, disintegration of nation states will bring nothing good either to Spain or Europe, and it is up to the Spanish to make the choice," he said.

In Catalonia's regional election on Sunday, an independence alliance and radical left-wing group won a joint total of 72 seats in the 135-seat assembly.

Catalan nationalist leaders framed the election as a proxy vote on independence and have vowed to launch a process to secede from Spain in 2017, which the government in Madrid has refused to allow.

© 2015 AFP

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