CATALONIA

Premier Mas admits EU will expel an independent Catalonia

Government would look for other alternatives “outside the treaties,” says regional leader

Barcelona -

For the first time since heated debate broke out over Catalonia’s proposed independence referendum next year, regional premier Artur Mas, who is pushing for the status vote, has admitted that his northeast region would be ejected from the European Union if it seceded from Spain.

In an interview with the Italian daily La Repubblica on Friday, Mas said that his government would look for other alternatives “outside the treaties” so that Catalonia would remain in the EU.

“I have considered that during the time between the referendum and a declaration of independence, we could remain outside of Europe; not outside the euro zone but outside the union. It would be a shame because we want to remain inside the EU,” he said.

Last September, Mas was adamant in trying to convince Catalans who support independence that the region would remain inside the EU. But growing voices from Brussels have since warned that an independent Catalonia would have to negotiate a separate agreement to get back into the EU.

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