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Spanish king takes on the Catalan government and makes no call for dialogue

Felipe says that authorities in Catalonia are “fracturing” society, but makes no comment on the police violence


04 October 2017 03:20 PM


Guifré Jordan | Barcelona

The Spanish king has explicitly taken sides in the institutional clash between Catalonia and Spain in a highly unusual move. Felipe took a very similar stance to that of the Spanish government in an official statement broadcast on television on Tuesday evening. He said that the Catalan executive is “fracturing” Catalan society with its referendum and its push towards independence.

According to him, Barcelona is showing an “inadmissible disloyalty to the state powers” and it is “outside the law and democracy.” While the tone of the explicit accusations came as a surprise compared to his usual cautiousness, some commentators were even more astonished at what Felipe did not say in his speech.

No call to dialogue

The Spanish monarch made no call for dialogue between the Catalan and the Spanish executive, like other leading institutions in Europe have been making in the past few days, including the European Commission. Felipe only said he is determined to ensure “harmony among Spaniards,” but didn’t mention the police violence last Sunday and the approximately 900 people injured while trying to vote in the referendum.  

  • "The Catalan authorities are outside the law and democracy"

    Felipe VI · King of Spain

“Situation of extreme gravity”

Indeed, he said that because of the “situation of extreme gravity”, the state has to “ensure the constitutional order and the normal functioning of the institutions.” Some commentators said that this could imply that Madrid could be planning to take control of Catalonia’s self-government in the coming days if its government and parliament go ahead with the idea of declaring independence.

According to him, “in Catalonia there is also a lot of concern and disquiet about the behavior of the regional authorities. To the ones who feel this way, I tell them that they are not alone and they won’t be; they have the support and solidarity of the rest of the Spaniards.” However, Felipe failed to send a specific message to the 2 million people who managed to vote for independence on Sunday and the several hundred thousands who rallied on Tuesday. 


  • Felipe, the king of Spain

  • Felipe, the king of Spain