Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and other regional leaders have signed a declaration of independence from Spain after his long awaited speech before Catalonia’s parliament.
But the move will not be implemented immediately allowing for talks with the national government in Madrid.
The symbolic gesture was welcomed by some lawmakers but for others it fell short of a unilateral proclamation.
Eduardo Reyes (MP independent – Junts pel Si):
“We have just signed an independence declaration, the independence of the Republic of Catalonia, and therefore we are independent. We are just giving the Spanish Government the opportunity to talk about how to do it.”
Xavier García Albiol (Popular Party):
“The “balance” of words in this speech do not give us security, we are not satisfied and it legitimises the Spanish Government to bring back normality.”
Puigdemont had been under intense pressure from all sides leading up to his address. In the end he claimed the recent disputed referendum gave Catalonia the right to be independent.
“As we have reached this historic moment, I take the responsibility as President of the Generalitat of presenting you and all of our citizens, the referendum’s results and the people’s mandate that Catalonia become an independent state in the form of a republic.”
Madrid has vowed to block any move by Catalonia to break away and rejects the idea of any form of mediation with Catalan leaders who it accuses of of acting outside of the law.
Spain’s deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria condemned the move.
“After having gone so far as having pushed Catalonia to the highest level of tension in its history, President (Carles) Puigdemont has now plunged its autonomous community into an even greater level of uncertainty.”
Reporting for euronews from Barcelona, Cristina Giner said:
“After an intense day at the Parliament, Puigdemont and the secessionists intend to adopt independence in stages following the so- called Slovenian model. The reaction of the Spanish government should become apparent after today’s special Cabinet meeting.