On the eve of his visit to Brussels, Catalan regional premier Artur Mas called on European Union leaders not to ignore the independence process he and his political supporters are trying to orchestrate in Spain’s northeast region.
Speaking at his Convergència (CDC) party’s annual rally in Igualada, outside Barcelona, Mas sought to assure supporters that there would be no negative effects from the EU if Catalonia finally decides to split from Spain.
“The Europe that only looks at the powers of the state should also take a look through a magnifying glass at one of the most peaceful, clear and enthusiastic movements that is happening at this moment, which is the movement for the liberation of Catalonia,” he said.
Mas went on to say to the 15,000 supporters who attended the rally that they should ignore “the fear campaign” that has originated “inside Spain” and the warnings coming from Brussels.
On September 16, European Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde warned that if Catalonia were to secede from Spain it would also be forced to leave the EU. She echoed words from EC Vice President Joaquín Almunia, who also said that “any segregated part of Spain” cannot be considered part of the EU.
“Don’t pay attention to this rhetoric because Europe knows that the borders are a thing of the past and that they cannot be imposed,” Mas said, adding that EU leaders represent the interests of their own individual states. Almunia is a Spaniard.
Mas is scheduled to travel to Brussels on Monday to try to drum up support for his independence referendum drive among European leaders. Last week, Mas said that the referendum should be held next year if it is legal and “tolerated” by Madrid. The central government has been opposed to a status vote without the backing of Congress.