“It is not possible to hold a referendum that will do away with national sovereignty and the equality of Spaniards,” said Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy at a year-end press conference in Madrid on Friday, ruling out the possibility of any referendum on the secession of the northeastern region of Catalonia from Spain.
Members of Catalonia’s National Alliance for the Right to Self-Determination, which brings together pro-secession political groups in Spain’s semi-autonomous region, met on December 23 to set out the course of an independence vote planned to be held in September 2017.
The Catalonian government pledged to push forward with secession from Spain with or without the approval of the central government, although it preferred a Scottish-type scenario where a consensual vote was held in Scotland in September 2014.
“This is not going anywhere, I’m offering something which is a lot more reasonable, dialogue,” Rajoy said.
The Spanish premier also urged local leaders to abandon attempts to hold a vote next year. “I ask that no more steps are taken in the opposite direction.”
Catalonia already has autonomy in health, education and policing. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, however, wants to create a central bank, armed forces and diplomatic services.