Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejected comparisons between Catalonia and Scotland as it prepares to hold a referendum on independence from the U.K., saying he didn’t discuss the matter with David Cameron today.
“The situation is absolutely and totally different and was not discussed during the meeting,” Rajoy told reporters after meeting with the British prime minister at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid. “The U.K.’s prime minister and parliament have taken the decision they considered appropriate in line with their laws.”
Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond agreed last year to a referendum on independence to be held in Scotland in the fall of 2014, raising the prospect of the end of the U.K. after more than 300 years. The pro-independence Scottish National Party government is seeking legal advice on the status of Scotland’s European Union membership should it leave the U.K.
Pro-independence parties in Catalonia won a regional election last year, opening a tussle over autonomy with Rajoy’s ruling People’s Party in Madrid. The Spanish region of Catalonia sees itself as culturally different from the rest of Spain, and has its own language. Rajoy says a referendum would be unconstitutional and that Catalonia would lose EU membership as a separate sovereign state.
Spanish law isn’t the same as in the U.K. and the government is against depriving Catalonians of the benefits of being part of Spain and the EU, Rajoy said. “I believe in the future of the Spanish nation, one of the most ancient in Europe.”
To contact the reporters on this story: Angeline Benoit in Madrid at firstname.lastname@example.org; Ben Sills in Madrid at email@example.com
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