Catalan official: “We cannot treat Catalonia like a third country”

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“There is no provision in the EU treaties to describe a process like the one is happening in Catalonia”, says secretary for Foreign and EU Affairs of the Government of Catalonia Roger Albinyana.

Only days before a referendum on independence will take place in in the Spanish north-eastern regiona of Catalonia, Catalan officials claim that “Catalonia wouldn’t be treated like a third country” if it breaks away from Spain.

The comments come after European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and other EU officials stated that any EU territory becoming independent will have to re-apply for EU membership.

“We are fully confident that once the vote has taken place, once the Catalan people have been able to express their opinion in a democratic and free way, negotiations will begin. Negotiations will begin with Madrid, because at the end of the day we are part of the kingdom of Spain, but also with Brussels and the EU institutions.”

Albinyana also said that the Catalan regional government has held “unofficial conversations” with EU officials about what would happen in case of a ‘yes’ vote. “We always get the same response”, Albinyana says, “that this is not a legal question, but a political one and therefore, it will have to be addressed politically”.

In an attempt to block the so-called “consultation”, the Spanish central government asked the Constitutional Court to declare it illegal, claiming it breaches the country’s constitution. The Court suspended the referendum but the Catalan regional government appealed the decision, hoping that the vote can actually take place on 9 November.

 

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