20 days is how long Catalonia’s President
Artur Mas had to wait to get an answer from Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso. Earlier
in December, Mas sent Barroso a letter seeking his support for the Spanish region to hold
a referendum on independence next November. But once again Brussels refused to comment
on what they see as a ‘political internal matter’, adding that the Commission has no
powers to judge the situation. Earlier in December, Mas sent letters to all
26 EU leaders and other international powers, urging them to encourage a vote that the centre-right
Spanish government says would breach the Spanish constitution.
In a letter to German chancellor Angela Merkel, Mas wrote: “Contrary to some reports, there
are a number of legal and constitutional options which allow this referendum to take place
in Catalonia”. Opinion polls have shown mixed support for
independence, with some recently showing only 35 per cent would vote for a full split from
Spain. But polls have shown a majority of Catalans want the right to decide and believe
that Mr Rajoy should authorise a vote.