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Spain's Rajoy to skip EU summit ahead of Catalan referendum

Europe
26.09.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Madrid (dpa) - Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has cancelled his attendance at this week‘s EU summit in Estonia, in part because of the controversial referendum on independence in Spain‘s wealthy region of Catalonia.

A meeting with ministers and other scheduling conflicts will also prevent him from heading to Tallinn for the EU Digital Summit, government sources told dpa on Tuesday.

Rajoy and his conservative People‘s Party (PP) are categorically opposed to Sunday‘s referendum and have repeatedly insisted that it will not take place. Rajoy‘s government and the country‘s judiciary have taken various measures in an effort to prevent it from going ahead.

Emotions have been running high in Catalonia for weeks. The leader of Catalonia‘s separatist regional government, Carles Puigdemont, has been threatened by Spanish authorities with imprisonment for his role in the referendum.

The Spanish Civil Guard, or Guardia Civil, carried out searches on Monday in about 30 municipalities in Catalonia that support the referendum, according to local media.

The Guardia Civil also arrested 14 separatist politicians and officials in dozens of raids last week, and around 10 million ballot papers and 1.5 million election posters were confiscated.

 

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