Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said that the European Union “cannot ignore the reality” of what is happening in Catalonia as the Spanish government is moving towards suspending the region’s autonomy. The government in Madrid is looking to trigger Article 155, a constitutional process that will take away Catalonia’s regional autonomy.
The Spanish government is readying to instruct the Senate to trigger constitutional mechanisms for doing so. “In the absence of a response, the government understands that the requirement has not been responded to and will go ahead with Article 155 of the Constitution,” said government spokesman Mendez Vigo. Article 155 is the most controversial article of the constitution and it has never been implemented in the 39 years that it has been in effect.
Mr. Bettel said that although the issue was not on the agenda of the summit that began in Brussels on Thursday (19 October), he expected that the Spanish leaders would “speak about that point”. The EU has generally been trying to avoid any public intervention in the crisis over Catalonia, emphasizing that it is a purely internal matter. Mr. Bettel’s comments are, however, a sign of an increasing tension among the European leaders.
“I think that the move of Catalan politicians to give the feeling that they don’t care about the law in organizing a referendum wasn’t a great idea,” he said. “Every sign of just showing that one is stronger than the other is not the best solution,” he said. “There is a law, and there is still a law to be respected, and there is a constitution, and the constitution should be respected too.”
European leaders have so far been pushing for a “political solution” to resolve the tensions between Barcelona and Madrid.