EU calls for dialogue in Spain, deems Catalonia independence vote "not legal"

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-02 19:03:54|Editor: Liu
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BRUSSELS, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) on Monday called for unity and stability instead of divisiveness and fragmentation in Spain, saying that Sunday's independence vote in Catalonia was "not legal" under the Spanish constitution.

"For the European Commission, as President Juncker has reiterated repeatedly, this is an internal matter for Spain that has to be dealt with in line with the constitutional order of Spain," said the EU commission in a statement published on its website.

"We also reiterate the legal position held by this Commission as well as by its predecessors. If a referendum were to be organized in line with the Spanish Constitution it would mean that the territory leaving would find itself outside of the European Union," said the commission.

"Beyond the purely legal aspects of this matter, the Commission believes that these are times for unity and stability, not divisiveness and fragmentation," said the statement.

"We call on all relevant players to now move very swiftly from confrontation to dialogue. Violence can never be an instrument in politics. We trust the leadership of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to manage this difficult process in full respect of the Spanish Constitution and of the fundamental rights of citizens enshrined therein," said the statement.

Rajoy on Sunday gave a televised speech defending government actions following violent clashes which left hundreds injured in a banned referendum.

The prime minister said "today there has not been a self-determination referendum" and that "our state maintains its strength and reacts and acts with all its resources against any kind of provocation".

Rajoy also defended the decision to send in police force to stop the voting, which was earlier deemed illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court.

He said that the referendum had produced "attitudes that should be repugnant to anyone who believes in democracy", and blamed Catalan leaders for the violence.

Online videos posted Sunday showed that police officers armed with batons clashed with voters at polling stations in Catalonia.

According to Catalan health authorities, more than 800 people received treatment at hospitals after being injured by police during Sunday's disputed referendum. Two people were in serious conditions.