France Would not Recognize Catalonia Independence

Geneva Matthews
October 10, 2017

While there is no indication that the government of Catalonia can find a compromise with Madrid.

The massive pro-Spain march, which passed off without incident, ran under the slogan "For the restoration of seny" - the Catalan word for common sense or folk wisdom.

Saenz de Santamaria also called for members of the Catalan government "who still respect democracy and freedom to refrain from jumping into the void". The majority of the region's unionists boycotted the October 1 referendum, which was banned by Madrid and disrupted by a violent police crackdown.

"Catalonia can not be defined by the vote organised by the independence movement just over a week ago", the French junior minister said.

Though 90% of voters backed independence at the outlawed referendum, fewer than half of the region's electorate voted. Spanish law bans such representations if they are used to incite acts of violence. Spanish stocks IBEX, +0.50% rose 0.8% on Monday, after last week's roller-coaster ride that ended in a 2% drop for the main IBEX-35 index.

Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, said on Saturday he would not rule out removing Catalonia's government and calling a fresh local election if it claimed independence, as well as suspending the wealthy region's existing autonomous status.

He also said that the Catalan movement aimed at obtaining more autonomy for the region should be peaceful and be conducted "within the framework of treaties".

Regional polls by the region's survey agencies indicate that more than a third of Catalans are supportive of an independent Catalonia. Turn-out for the referendum was 43 percent.

On Sunday, Barcelona police estimated as many as 350,000 people participated in a rally organised in the Spanish city. As Spanish police started seizing ballot boxes, Catalan officials allowed voters to cast ballots wherever they liked. "We are facing a tremendous unknown".

"I think that whatever they do, they have made us angry, and I think we have seen that a. part of Spain doesn't like us - the king doesn't like us either and so I think that, also because of how they've treated us just now, there is no turning back".

French European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said her country will not recognize Catalonia if it declares independence from Spain, clarifying such a move will mean Catalan exit from the EU.

"A region newly-independent would, by the fact of its independence, a third country in relation to the Union and all the treaties no longer apply to its territory from the first day of its independence ", said Romano Prodi in 2004.

But Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont has pledged to push ahead for independence anyway. "We have to talk about this", he said.

The Catalan government had previously said it would declare independence within 48 hours of a yes vote in the referendum.

The vote was marred by allegations of police brutality.

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