People take to the streets to defend Spain's unity, its constitution and protest against the independence referendum set to be held on Sunday which has been declared illegal by Spain's Constitutional Court, in Barcelona, Spain, on Sept. 30, 2017. (Xinhua/Guo Qiuda)
MADRID, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Junker on Monday gave Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy his support over the issue of Catalan independence.
According to the Spanish media, Junker and Rajoy held a telephone conversation in which Junker expressed his support for constitutional order in Spain following the independence referendum held in the Catalan region of Northeast Spain on Sunday.
That referendum was declared illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court.
Junker reportedly also asked Rajoy to avoid further tension and the use of force.
The conversation came after the European Commission issued a communique earlier in the day, agreeing with the Spanish government that the referendum was "not legal."
"This is an internal matter for Spain that has to be dealt with in line with the constitutional order of Spain," commented the Commission, adding that an independent Catalonia "would find itself outside of the European Union."
The Commission also mentioned the tactics used by the National Police and Civil Guards against voters, saying "violence can never be an instrument in politics."
Rajoy Monday also held meetings with Pedro Sanchez, the leader of the Spanish Socialist Party and Albert Rivera, the leader of center-right party Ciudadanos to discuss possible future action and government response to the crisis.
Rivera said he wants to see Rajoy's government invoke 155 of the Spanish Constitution to temporarily override the autonomy of the Catalan region and call new regional elections. Sanchez is thought to prefer looking for dialogue with Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.