Spain fails to reach agreement over Catalan independence vote

President Artur Mas said he had hoped for a 'British solution' to the issue, in reference to September's referendum on Scottish independence

madrid

The Spanish and Catalonian governments are no closer to preventing a crisis over a planned independence vote for the north-eastern region in November, after their two leaders failed to reach agreement following talks today.

“The Prime Minister told [the Catalan President] Artur Mas that the consultation is not legal and will not take place,” Alicia Sanchez-Camacho, who is head of the premier Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party in Catalonia, told a news conference.

Ms Sanchez-Camacho noted that Spain’s Constitutional Court had reiterated in March that regional governments may not hold referendums on self-determination, and that in April the national parliament turned down a request by Catalonia to hold what it calls a “consultation” on independence.

However, she said Mr Rajoy was prepared to work with Mr Mas on using regional funds to help Catalonia overcome the economic crisis, from which Spain is only beginning to emerge after six years.

“We are determined, as I told him a year ago, to hold the consultation,” Mr Mas meanwhile said at a news conference in Madrid.

“We understand that in the situation in which relations between Catalonia and the rest of the state have come to, either it is solved by a consultation or there won’t be a stable solution,” he added.

Mr Mas said he had hoped for a “British solution”, in a reference to the Scottish referendum on independence in September. Notwithstanding their lack of agreement, Mr Mas said there was still “an open climate of dialogue” between himself and Mr Rajoy, and he did not rule out a deal being reached in future.

The next step in the drive for independence is set for September, when the Catalonian parliament is due to pass a bill on holding consultations, which Mr Mas says will provide him with the legal basis to call for Catalans to vote on breaking away from Spain on 9 November. If the poll goes ahead, Catalans will first be asked to answer the question “Do you want Catalonia to be a state?” then as a follow-up question for those who tick Yes, “Do you want this state to be independent?” An opinion poll by the Catalonian government in April showed that 47 per cent of respondents planned to vote Yes to both questions.

Spain’s opposition Socialist Party, while opposed to the planned vote, has proposed reforming the constitution to make Spain a federal state in order to make peace with Catalonian leaders.

Catalans speak a distinct language and memories are fresh of its being repressed under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. They feel they get a raw deal from the central government on taxes, and whereas all 17 of Spain’s regions have autonomy, polls show that 70 per cent of Catalans believe they do not have enough of it.

Overshadowing today’s meeting was an admission last weekend by the founder of Mr Mas’s Convergencia party, Jordi Pujol, that he had hidden a personal fortune from the tax authorities in foreign bank accounts for 34 years. Mr Pujol was President of Catalonia from 1980-2003.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Plant Fitter - Construction Industry

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This well established construction equipment d...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Recruitment Genius: Factory Operatives

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer ba...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003