Independence ‘on hold’ for Catalonia

Puigdemont signing the ‘Declaration of Independence’ Image:

In a speech made to the Catalan Parliament on Tuesday evening the president of the Generalitat, Carles Puigdemont signed the ‘Declaration of Independence’ but said that he is suspending the implementation to open dialogue with the Government.

However, in rejecting the call for dialogue Spain’s deputy prime minister described Mr Puigdemont as someone “who does not know where he is, where he’s going”.

Prime Minister Rajoy also announced that he will hold an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the government’s next steps.

The Catalan president said that he accepts “the mandate of the people for Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic,” but he asked the Parliament to suspend the implementation of the act in order to open negotiations with the Government “in the coming weeks”.

In a speech that lasted about half an hour, Puigdemont avoided opting for direct independence , in an attempt to “de-stress” the tension “with the State, a” gesture of generosity and responsibility, “he said, with whom he hopes to” open a period of meaningful dialogue. ”

Catalonia is is one of Spain’s wealthiest regions, but a stream of companies has announced plans to move head offices out of Catalonia in response to the crisis.

The European Union has made clear that should Catalonia split from Spain, the region would cease to be part of the EU.