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MNI: European Commission Breaks Catalonia Silence, Backs Rajoy

MNI (London)
By Tara Oakes
     BRUSSELS (MNI) - The European Commission Monday said it "trusted" Spanish
PM Rajoy after violence broke out Sunday at a vote in Catalonia.
     Images shared on social media of citizens bleeding after interventions by
police shocked many after a disputed independence referendum was held. 
     The EC did not comment yesterday in the wake of the violence, which was
condemned by other EU figures, including Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel. 
     On Monday, the Commission reiterated that they believe the vote was not
     "Under the Spanish Constitution, yesterday's vote in Catalonia was not
legal," EC Chief Spokesman Margaritis Schinas said.
     "[T]his is an internal matter for Spain that has to be dealt with in line
with the constitutional order of Spain," he added.
     The EC statement also outlined that if a legal referendum were to be held
and Catalonia did secede, it would not be an EU member.
     "We call on all relevant players to now move very swiftly from
confrontation to dialogue. Violence can never be an instrument in politics," the
statement read. Despite repeated questioning, the EC failed to condemn the
specific violence yesterday which reportedly left around 800 injured.
     "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," Schinas said.
     Initial results indicate that 90% of those who managed to vote yesterday
backed independence. About 42% of those eligible voted.
     Rajoy himself, who has a phone call scheduled with EC President Juncker
later Monday, said that no referendum took place.
--MNI Brussels Bureau; +44 203-865-3851; email:
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email:
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MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 |

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