LUXEMBOURG – Spain’s Economy Minister Luis de Guindos called on Tuesday on Catalan President Carles Puigdemont to return to common sense and said the ball was in his court just hours before the regional leader is due to address Catalonia’s parliament for the first time since he staged a controversial independence referendum.
De Guindos issued his warning to Puigdemont as he arrived at a Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg, while Spain braced itself for the regional leader’s address in the Catalan parliament where he is to discuss the aftermath of the secessionist vote that went ahead on Oct. 1 in defiance of Spanish courts, which had deemed it illegal and unconstitutional.
“Now we are in the final minutes, all depends on Mr. Puigdemont and I hope that he returns to common sense, not just for the whole of Catalonia, but also for the whole of Spain and Europe,” Guindos told reporters.
He added that whatever occurs in Catalonia is not a question of “yes” or “no” to independence, but of a rebellion against the rule of law led by a “radical and irresponsible” regional government.
He said he was confident that the European Union would support all the legal and constitutional actions taken by the Spanish government against separatist developments in Catalonia.
He said Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the conservative leader of the governing Popular Party, had spoken to the European Commission, the Council and powerful European nations, all of whom had expressed their backing.
“What is happening is an attack on the constitution and Spain’s rule of law, which is, therefore, a very considerable offense; but I’m not concerned because the response from the Spanish government will be appropriate,” said the Spanish economy chief.
Catalonia’s separatist bid has sparked a considerable political crisis in Spain.
There were lingering concerns that Puigdemont would use his upcoming address in parliament to unilaterally declare independence from Spain.
The uncertainty has seen several major banking groups and a slew of companies uproot their corporate headquarters out of the region.
Rajoy has said that any declaration of independence would have no effect whatsoever.