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Catalonia declares independence

"Concern at another breach of the constitution"

The German government is concerned about the further escalation of the situation in Catalonia. Federal government spokesperson Steffen Seibert reported that the German government will not recognise the unilateral declaration of independence issued by the regional parliament in Barcelona.

The Spanish and Catelonian flags fly side by side in Barcelona. The German government will not recognise the unilateral declaration of independence issued by the Catalonian regional parliament Photo: Getty Images/Lonely Planet Image

Government spokesperson Steffen Seibert announced via Twitter that the German government is "concerned about the renewed escalation of the situation in Catalonia, triggered by another breach of the constitution on the part of the Catalonian regional parliament". "The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Spain are inviolable and will remain so," he continued. The unilateral declaration of independence breaches these protected principles. The German government will not recognise any declaration of independence of this sort.

The German government supports "the clear stance taken by the Spanish Prime Minister to ensure and restore the constitutional order". Steffen Seibert also, however, expressed the hope that "those involved will use every option available to engage in dialogue and de-escalate the situation".

New borders not in Europe’s best interests says Sigmar Gabriel

"Only talks based on the rule of law and within the framework of the Spanish constitution can bring about a solution," stressed Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel. "A strong, united and stable Spain is important to us."

Particularly now, when the countries on Europe’s doorstep are experiencing unrest and conflict, Europe must present a strong, united front, declared the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs. "Drawing new borders and building new walls in Europe is not in the interest of Europe’s citizens."

What happened?

On Friday afternoon (27 October) Catalonia’s regional parliament voted for the independence of the autonomous region. In response, the Spanish Senate gave Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government the go-ahead to dismiss Catalonia’s regional government. The Spanish parliament in Madrid voted to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which allows the central government to suspend autonomy and impose direct rule on a break-away region. That very evening the Spanish government decided to dismiss the regional government.

Early on Saturday (28 October), the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy officially imposed direct rule on Catalonia, taking over from the dismissed Catalonian leader Carles Puigdemont. With the publication of the notification in the official gazette the other members of the pro-independence government in Barcelona were also dismissed.

On Monday (30 October) the Spanish chief prosecutor brought charges against the former president of Catalonia’s regional government Carles Puigdemont and other members of the dismissed government. The charges include rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds, according to the office of the chief prosecutor in Madrid.

Oct 28, 2017