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EU Should Mediate Madrid-Catalonia Row Over Independence Vote - Belgian Party

© REUTERS / Susana VeraA woman holds up an Estelada (Catalan separatist flag) during a protest one day after the banned independence referendum in Barcelona, Spain
A woman holds up an Estelada (Catalan separatist flag) during a protest one day after the banned independence referendum in Barcelona, Spain - Sputnik International
According to the president of the Belgian right-wing People’s Party, that is the EU that should mediate a row between the Spanish central authorities and its autonomous region of Catalonia.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The European Union should become a mediator between the Spanish central authorities and its autonomous region of Catalonia in their disagreement over Sunday's Catalan independence referendum, the president of the Belgian right-wing People’s Party told Sputnik.

Catalan Raimon Castellvi wears a flag with an Estelada (Catalan separatist flag) as he protests outside the European Commission in Brussels after Sunday's independence referendum in Catalonia, Belgium, October 2, 2017. - Sputnik International
EU Parliament Stops Short of Discussing Referendum in Catalonia - Lawmaker
According to the Catalan authorities, over 90 percent of more than 2.26 million voters favored the independence, however, the central government and the EU leadership consider the vote illegal. Head of the Catalan government Carles Puigdemont on Monday called on the European Union to encourage international mediation of the conflict.

"The European Union should be very careful and not support the Catalan referendum as such. They should regret the violence and propose to play the role of a go-between for Madrid and Barcelona, in order to reduce the fever which is stoked by the Catalan independence seekers," Mischael Modrikamen said.

Moreover, the European Commission called the vote "illegal" in a Monday statement but refrained from offering to act as a mediator, saying that the issue was an internal one.

"The People's Party supports the use of the referendum as a way for the population to give its opinion fast, without the filter of parliament on major issues. But in this case, the referendum is illegal, there should be firstly the extended negotiations with Madrid on its organization," Modrikamen pointed out.

The politician said that the central government's decision to use national police in an attempt to derail the referendum, which resulted in violent clashes, was "a clear error." On Monday, the Catalan Health Department said in a statement that 893 people sought medical help after clashes with police, which had erupted during the referendum.

A man holds an Estelada (Catalan separatist flag) as people gather at Plaza Catalunya after voting ended for the banned independence referendum, in Barcelona, Spain - Sputnik International
Catalonia Independence Vote Illegal According to Spanish Law - EU
Meanwhile, on October 1, 2017, Spain's autonomous community of Catalonia held an independence referendum. The initiative was challenged by Madrid in the Spanish Constitutional court, which subsequently ruled the upcoming vote unconstitutional. After that, Madrid refused to recognize the vote as legitimate and Spanish police moved in to shut down polling station, prompting clashes with protesters and voters. The Catalan Health Department said that hundreds people sought medical help after the clashes. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that in Catalonia there was "no referendum" on self-determination, but assured that the government was ready to conduct a dialogue within the region.

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