The Spanish prime minister called on Catalan’s leader to clarify whether his region has declared has independence on Wednesday, following an emergency meeting of top government officials in Madrid.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Wednesday he cannot decide what steps to take until Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont says whether the speech he delivered Tuesday was meant as a formal break from Spain.
Rajoy said the clarity was required by the constitutional article that would allow Spain to intervene and take control of some or all of Catalonia’s regional powers. Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution allows the central government to take some or total control of any of its 17 regions if they don’t comply with their legal obligations.
Puigdemont said yesterday he was proceeding with a declaration of independence but was suspending it for several weeks to facilitate negotiations.
The emergency meeting by Rajoy and his cabinet ministers was held to discuss Madrid’s response.
Puigdemont’s remarks were earlier dismissed as a “trick to say one thing and do the opposite” by Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis.
But Dastis, in an interview with French radio station Europe 1, also said there was room for negotiations within the frame of Spain’s constitution.
No change in plans
Catalonia’s government spokesperson said earlier that if the Spanish government decides to intervene over the region’s autonomous powers, it will be seen that there is no willingness to talk and Catalonia will be obliged to press ahead with its commitment to independence.
Jordi Turull told Catalunya Radio that Wednesday’s events would show if the possibility of dialogue exists for the Spanish government, and “the international community will see.”
He said the Catalan government has not changed its plans but wants to talk.