THE CATALAN QUESTION

EC chief Barroso tells Catalonia self-rule vote is Spanish issue

Breakaway premier Mas had written letter to drum up European leaders’ support for referendum

European Commission President José Manuel Durão Barroso has told Catalan premier Artur Mas that it is not with the European Union executive body’s brief to comment on whether the northeastern Spanish region should be allowed to hold a referendum on self-rule, a Commission spokesman said Wednesday.

Barroso’s comments came in response to a letter Mas sent to the EC president and the prime ministers of all EU member countries canvassing support for a referendum. The conservative Popular Party government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has rejected Mas’s request to hold a self-rule vote next November and has threatened to quash any attempt by the Mas administration to hold a referendum on its own, arguing that this would go against the Constitution.

At a meeting of the PP’s executive committee on Wednesday Rajoy said: “Mas has lost the international battle. He risks making himself seem ridiculous. He has created a problem and wants other people to resolve it for him.”

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