Catalan independence flags fly among the Saltaires at a pro-Scottish independence march in Glasgow. Photo: AFP Spain's foreign minister said Tuesday that an independent Scotland could rejoin the European Union after Brexit -- and warned of the United Kingdom's "weakness". Previously, Madrid has been seen as an obstacle to Scotland joining Europe, as it faces its own Catalan separatists' demands. But, with Britain to leave the EU on March 29th, Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said that if Scotland follows a legal path to leave the UK it could come back. "Why not, if they leave Britain in accordance with their internal regulations?" Borrell asked, in an interview with the Politico EU news site. "If Westminster agrees, we are not going to be more papist than the pope." Both Scotland and Catalonia held independence votes in 2014. The Scottish nationalists were defeated at the ballot box and Spain refused to … [Read more...] about Spain says independent Scotland could join EU
By Matthew Bennett Two years ago, when Donald Trump won the American presidency, with the support of Steve Bannon and the alt-right, one party moved quickly to try to position itself as Spain’s answer to that ascendent US national populism. Vox’s first attempts did not go very far beyond a few meetings, on both sides of the Atlantic, and some press statements accompanied by photos of party leader Santiago Abascal with Marine Le Pen (France, National Front), Geert Wilders (Holland, Party for Freedom) or Frauke Petry (Alternative for Germany). But there was not much substance to it. In a recent article describing that period, El Confidencial wrote that Vox was considered “a pariah among the eurosceptic right in Europe”. On Monday, Vox published a pre-campaign video of Mr. Abascal trotting around a plain somewhere in Andalusia—where regional elections will be held on December 2nd—looking manly in a more Putinesque than Trump-like manner, to … [Read more...] about ANALYSIS: Will Vox, Spain’s answer to the alt-right, ride the populist wave to its first electoral win?
Archive image of Artur Mas. Photo: AFP Spain's audit office on Monday ordered former Catalan president Artur Mas and nine others to repay €4.9 million ($5.5 million) of public money spent on staging a 2014 independence referendum. Mas was banned from holding public office for two years in March 2017 for pushing ahead with the symbolic vote that was declared illegal by the courts. His successor Carles Puigdemont staged another independence vote last year in the northeastern region. The audit office -- which oversees public spending -- said Mas and nine members of his administration were responsible for the spending on the November 2014 referendum which amounted to 4.9 million euros. The funds were used to create a website for the ballot, buy 7,000 computers used in voting centres set up in schools and other public buildings, print ballots and pay for advertising for the vote, the office said. While the office ordered the ten to repay … [Read more...] about Former Catalan leader ordered to pay €4.9 million over vote
MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish audit office has ordered former Catalan leader Artur Mas and nine others to repay 4.9 million euros (4.3 million pounds) of public money spent on a non-binding independence ballot in 2014, the office said on Monday. The 2014 vote was a symbolic ballot by pro-independence campaigners that was declared illegal by Spain's Constitutional Court and came three years before Mas's successor Carles Puigdemont held an independence vote last year. The informal ballot was held after the government blocked a more formal vote which Catalan leaders had been pushing for. Some 80 percent of the around 2.2 million voters backed secession, much higher than the usual around 50-50 split amongst Catalans on independence. Mas was cited by the audit office - which oversees spending by political parties and within the public sector - as being the main responsible party for the payment of the fine, the office said. Mas was barred from public office for two years in March 2017 for … [Read more...] about Spanish auditors order former Catalan leaders to pay 4.9 million euros over vote
Police in Barcelona briefly clashed with Catalan separatists who were protesting against a rally by Spain's national police force on Sunday. Catalan regional police used batons to drive back a group of separatists in the city centre, stopping them from advancing towards a march by an association of Spain's national police forces demanding higher pay. Separatists resent the national police for using violence against voters in the unauthorised Catalan independence referendum that took place on October 1, 2017. In September, a similar protest by separatists about another march by the same national police association ended in clashes with regional security forces. … [Read more...] about Police in Barcelona clash with Catalan separatists