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Spain threatens to cut funding for Catalonia over independence referendum

Spain threatens to cut funding for Catalonia over independence referendum

"When Constitutional Court struck down Statute, which had previously been voted by parliaments in Catalan and Spanish and approved in referendum by citizens of Catalunya, broke covenant constitution of 1978".

Speaking to Telecinco private channel, the vice president of the Spanish Government, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, recalled that all acts in the October 1 controversial secessionist consultation are banned by Spanish justice. But a poll published by the Catalan government's statistics institute in late July showed support for independence had dipped to 41 per cent, with 50 per cent opposed.

"The Commission does not involve itself in internal, domestic debates", Juncker said, adding that the discussion was hypothetical as the referendum is not recognized by Spain.

Nonetheless, those calling for independence are bullish not just about defying Madrid's legal obstacles but also about the result of the referendum. "If there were to be a yes vote for Catalan independence we would respect that choice", Juncker said.

The wealthy northeastern region launched its official campaign for an independence referendum on Thursday in defiance of Madrid, which has declared the process illegal, and the Constitutional Court, which has suspended the vote.

Carles Ruiz, the Socialist mayor of Viladecans, a town of 65,000 residents, denounced "pressure" on those mayors who refuse to participate on social media or in person.

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"Some post photos of the mayors or of their homes", he told AFP.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and other supporters of secession gathered at an arena in Tarragona, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of Barcelona, to address thousands of people at the kickoff for the two-week campaign. He added that if an independent Catalonia chose to join the European Union, it must follow the usual path to membership.

Catalonia's governor and the mayor of its biggest city Barcelona appealed to Spain's premier and king on Friday for dialogue to resolve the region's increasingly bitter tussle with Madrid. Mayor Ada Colau tweeted that people would be allowed to vote "without putting institutions or public workers at risk". A city hall spokesman was unable to give further details.

They have also criticised what they see as heavy-handed measures by Madrid to stop the vote.

The government of the wealthy northeastern region has pledged to hold a referendum on breaking away from Spain on October 1 in defiance of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who has declared the event illegal and is bringing the weight of the state to bear to prevent it.

Prime minister Mariano Rajoy has taken action through the courts to rule the referendum illegal and promised to use the Civil Guard to attempt to seize the ballot boxes as well as raid the offices of a printers in Tarragona who were believed to be printing ballot papers.