Catalonia referendum 'not legal' - European Union

  • 03/10/2017

The European Commission says the independence referendum in Catalonia was "not legal" but also called on the Spanish government to open dialogue, saying violence could not be an instrument in politics.

"Under the Spanish constitution, yesterday's vote in Catalonia was not legal," the EU executive's chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a regular news briefing on Monday.

"This is an internal matter for Spain that has to be dealt with by the constitutional order in Spain," he said, while adding it was time for unity and dialogue, not violence.

Schinas also said the Commission trusts "the leadership of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to manage this difficult process."

"These are times for unity and stability," he said. "We call on all relevant players to now move very swiftly from confrontation to dialogue. Violence can never be an instrument in politics."

Schinas said EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Rajoy would talk later on Monday.

Catalan officials say the poll, which Spain insists was illegal and invalid, shows that a majority who voted favour secession.