World leaders reacted swiftly to the Catalan parliament’s vote on Friday to declare independence from Spain. Major Western nations made clear they did not recognize Catalonia as an independent country but some also encouraged Madrid to pursue dialogue with Catalan leaders and warned against taking too hard a line.
Among the first to react was European Council President Donald Tusk, who wrote: “For EU nothing changes. Spain remains our only interlocutor.” But he added: “I hope the Spanish government favours force of argument, not argument of force.”
For EU nothing changes. Spain remains our only interlocutor. I hope the Spanish government favours force of argument, not argument of force.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) October 27, 2017
French President Emmanuel Macron said Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had his “full support,” while European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU “does not need more fissures.”
— Agence France-Presse (@afpfr) October 27, 2017
“The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Spain are and remain inviolable,” said German government spokesman Steffen Seibert. “The federal government does not recognize such a declaration of independence.”
— Steffen Seibert (@RegSprecher) October 27, 2017
A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The U.K. does not and will not recognize the Unilateral Declaration of Independence made by the Catalan regional parliament. It is based on a vote that was declared illegal by the Spanish courts. We continue to want to see the rule of law upheld, the Spanish constitution respected, and Spanish unity preserved.”
The Scottish government, which is seeking independence itself, said: “We understand and respect the position of the Catalan Government.” But it stopped short of saying it recognized Friday’s declaration by the Catalan parliament. However, the statement said the Spanish government’s plans to impose direct rule “should be of concern to democrats everywhere.” The statement also said the “European Union has a political and moral responsibility to support dialogue to identify how the situation can be resolved peacefully and democratically.”
The U.S. government said in a statement: “Catalonia is an integral part of Spain, and the United States supports the Spanish government’s constitutional measures to keep Spain strong and unified.”
— Department of State (@StateDept) October 27, 2017
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, who was reportedly reprimanded by the Spanish government for not sticking to the EU’s line on the crisis, wrote: “A political crisis can only be solved through dialogue. We call for a peaceful solution with respect for national and international order.
A political crisis can only be solved through dialogue. We call for a peaceful solution with respect for national and international order
— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) October 27, 2017
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage may be considered an unlikely supporter of the Catalan independence movement, given it has been staunchly pro-European. He wrote: “The Spanish pushed the Catalan people too far.” Farage also called Catalonia’s independence declaration “Juncker’s worst nightmare.”
The Spanish pushed the Catalan people too far.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) October 27, 2017
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said, in Spanish, “no one in the European Union is going to recognize this declaration.”
4)Nadie en la Unión Europea va a reconocer esa declaración.
— EP President Tajani (@EP_President) October 27, 2017
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, a proponent of secession, said Catalonia faced “an enormous defining Gandhian struggle … against the full weight of the Spanish state.”
An enormous defining Gandhian struggle will now commence in Catalonia to secure their declaration of independence against the full weight of the Spanish state, from the use of force, to financial interdiction, censorship, computer hacking, intelligence, propaganda and diplomacy.
— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) October 27, 2017