Catalan voters made their choice over the weekend and collectively stated their preference for independence from Spain. In a vote that was marred by violence, the Spanish region is now in a position to declare independence from the European country, Catalan leader Carlos Puidgement.
The Spanish Government, meanwhile, has stated it could choose to suspend Catalan self-rule.
The voter turn-out was around the 43% mark, with 90% of those votes in favour of independence. However, the election was hit with violence. Spanish riot police stormed some voting stations and over 800 voters and around 30 police were injured, according to numerous reports.
The independence referendum was held in Catalan in defiance of the Spanish authorities. It follows a symbolic vote in 2014, which also resulted in the majority of citizens supporting independence.
However, while the leader of Catalonia announced the region could declare independence based on the vote, the European Commission said the vote and result wasn’t legal.
“Under the Spanish constitution, yesterday’s vote in Catalonia was not legal,” said Margaritis Schinas, the EU executive’s chief spokesman at a regular briefing. “This is an internal matter for Spain that has to be dealt with by the constitutional order in Spain,” he added.
While the Catalonian appetite for independence from Spain is no surprise, it further underscores the disappointment many citizens across the European Union are feeling with the current status quo.
The visit to the polls also comes as French president Emmanuel Macron pushes for closer links across the region, that was rocked by the UK’s vote for Brexit in 2016.
Speaking last week, Macron outlined his ideas for a closer Europe with a vision of working together on defence and immigration issues, while also creating a single EU budget.
“The only path that assures our future is the rebuilding of a Europe that is sovereign, united and democratic,” Macron told his audience in Sorbonne, ahead of his trip to Tallinn later in the week.
European stocks were positive Monday, although Spanish stocks lost ground on the news.