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    “I don’t want to see a poor Catalonia outside the EU, euro and UN” (Rajoy)

    Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told lawmakers on Wednesday that he did not want to see a “poor” independent Catalonia “outside of the European Union and United Nations,” while reiterating that he would not allow the northeastern region to hold its proposed November 9 referendum.

    “Neither you nor I can break the law because what you propose is actually a decision that belongs to all Spaniards,” the prime minister told Alfred Bosch, parliamentary spokesman for the Catalan Republican Left (ERC), during a question-and-answer session in Congress.

    “I want all of us to go on forming part of this same nation like we have for centuries. We have shared the same history, the same fortunes, and we have mixed our blood and joined our families. We have made a transition to democracy. I don’t want to see a poor Catalonia, or a Catalonia outside the EU or euro zone or the United Nations. No one deserves this and neither do you.”

    After Rajoy reaffirmed that the decision over Catalonia’s future should be made by all Spaniards, not just Catalans, Bosch responded during his intervention: “Well, why don’t you call [a referendum] for all Spaniards?

    “Do it, because that is your duty,” the ERC leader demanded. “On November 9, we are going to the polls, because casting ballots isn’t illegal and we plan on voting.”

    Tensions between the central and regional governments have been growing since January when the Catalan parliament voted in favor of a motion to ask Spanish Congress for permission to hold a referendum on self-rule for the region.

     

    Congress has brought forward to April 8 the debate on the Catalonia parliament’s petition to transfer enabling powers to regional lawmakers that would allow them to hold the status vote.

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