Published: Fri, September 15, 2017
Culture | By Ray Hoffman

Catalonia's EU Accession 'Next Day After Referendum' Impossible - Juncker

Catalonia's EU Accession 'Next Day After Referendum' Impossible - Juncker

A mounting confrontation between Catalan and Spain's national leaders over a planned independence referendum in the Catalonia region is gripping Spain.

The pro-independence coalition governing Catalonia says the 1 October ballot will go ahead despite a ruling by Spain's Constitutional Court suspending the vote until judges can rule on its legality. "If they force people to choose between democracy and police, the choice is clear", Pique said to AFP.

Police have been directed to arrest the mayors should they fail to answer the summons, according to the official letter sent to local authorities.

Earlier this week, over a million people gathered in Barcelona, Catalonia's capital, in a show of support for independence on Catalonia's national day 'La Diada'.

Catalonia's pro-separatist government has asked the wealthy northeastern region's 948 mayors to provide facilities for polling stations for the plebiscite.

The region has pushed for a legitimate referendum for years.

"If anyone urges you to go to a polling station, don't go", Rajoy said.

He said Wednesday the rights of all Spaniards will be upheld against "whoever steps outside constitutional and statutory law".

Police raided a newspaper office and a printing press last week, looking for signs of preparation, and the regional court has ordered Civil Guard agents to shut down web pages providing information about the referendum.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government has vowed to do everything in its power to stop the referendum.

The Spanish government's top representative in Catalonia has warned the regional president he may be committing a crime if he proceeds with plans to launch a campaign for an independence referendum.

The decision affects the city halls of important Catalan towns and cities such as Figueres, Girona, Manresa, Vic, Cambrils, Tortosa and Sitges, whose majors will now be investigated "in relation with the presumed acts of cooperation in the organization of the illegal referendum".

Catalonia accounts for around 20 percent of Spain's gross domestic product and has received some 70 billion euros ($83 billion) in funding from Madrid since 2012.

But Spain's economic worries, coupled with a perception that the region pays more in taxes than it receives in investments and transfers from Madrid, have helped push the cause of secession from the fringes of Catalan politics to centre stage.

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