Spain Vows to Enforce the Law in Rebel Catalonia – Bloomberg

Spain’s government will consider using all means at its disposal to uphold the law in Catalonia, the justice minister said, praising the police for their “exemplary” action in defense of the constitution.

“We have always said that we would use all the force of the law and all the mechanisms that the constitution and laws grant to the government,” Rafael Catala told broadcaster TVE in an interview. While images of police violence provoked alarmed reactions from some European government officials, Catala praised the security force for their “measured” response.

Catalan History of Grievance Leaves a Divided Spain: QuickTake

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy looks to be doubling down on his response to a still-escalating crisis after secessionist leaders in Barcelona signaled they may declare independence within days for the region that constitutes about a fifth of Spain’s economic output. Asked if he would consider activating a constitutional clause to suspend Catalonia’s regional autonomy, Catala said the government’s duty was to “fix problems” and ensure the rule of law prevails.

Spanish stocks and the euro fell on Monday as the country was left reeling from the previous day’s turbulent events that saw thousands of police use force to obstruct voting in the referendum ruled illegal by the constitutional court in Madrid. The clashes left hundreds of people injured, according to the regional government.

Parliamentary Talks

Rajoy has said he will address Parliament on the crisis and on Monday called Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez and Albert Rivera, the head of the Ciudadanos party, in for talks. Article 155 of Spain’s 1978 constitution allows the premier a final recourse option to suspend Catalonia’s semi-autonomy. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said the day’s events showed the region had won its right to become a republic and called on the European Union to support its cause.

People react while listening to a speech by Rajoy, Oct. 1.

The EU refused to heed Catalan pleas for recognition, arguing the matter is a domestic one for the Spanish government and saying that an independent Catalonia would be outside the bloc.

While regional heads such as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon backed the Catalan desire to vote, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel was one of few EU leaders to comment. Even then he steered clear of endorsing the Catalan government line, saying on Twitter only that “we condemn all forms of violence and reaffirm our call for political dialogue.” 

Spanish government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo told Cadena Ser radio that the EU would never support Catalan independence because it would mean “a mess of giant proportions.”

Stocks and the single currency sank on Monday, with the euro down 0.7 percent to $1.1734 as of 12:10 a.m. Spain’s benchmark IBEX 35 stock index dropped 1.3 percent.

The Catalan crisis has already caused broader problems for Rajoy’s efforts to rule Spain as the head of a minority government that relies on support from regional parties to get legislation passed. Last week he had to pull plans to present his 2018 budget after allies in the Basque PNV party withheld their support as they criticized his stance on Catalonia.

Inigo Urkullu, the Basque “lehendakari,” or regional president, said the police action was totally disproportionate and the use of courts and security services couldn’t be a solution to Catalonia’s crisis, El Diario Vasco newspaper reported.

Voting Tally

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