You are in:

Share on Facebook: opens new windowShare on Twitter: opens new window

​Statement by President of the Government following extraordinary meeting of Council of Ministers

Madrid, Friday 27 October 2017

Ladies and gentlemen, a very good afternoon and thank you for attending this press briefing.

I will read out a statement in which I will try and summarise, in addition to some impressions, the agreements that we have adopted at the Council of Ministers that ended a few minutes ago, as you are all aware.

This is a sad day for the people of Spain in which senselessness has imposed itself on the law and has toppled democracy in Catalonia with disdain for the general interest, without respecting the rights of the majority and regardless of the circumstances or the harm that this may cause.

The government has begun to adopt the necessary measures to respond to certain decisions that seek to force through a series of events consummated in an attack that is inadmissible for most people of Catalonia and stealing away part of the territory that belongs to all the people of Spain.

At this emotional time, prudence and serenity are very important, as is trust that the State has sufficient resources so that, with all the weight of the law and reason behind it, and in a peaceful and moderate fashion, it can recover legal normality and dissolve the threats to co-existence.

At the ordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers, it was agreed to lodge an appeal before the Constitutional Court to enforce the ruling to annul the resolutions adopted today by the Regional Parliament of Catalonia.

The extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers was exclusively given over to implementing the initial measures provided for in Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution which, as you all know, were also approved today by the Upper House of Parliament. These initial measures that we have approved, after the Upper House lent its support to the proposal we made last Saturday at the Council of Ministers, are as follows:

- Removal of the President of the Regional Government of Catalonia

- Removal of the Vice-President of the Regional Government of Catalonia and the rest of the regional councillors that make up the regional government.

- Appointment of administrative bodies commissioned with complying with the measures approved by the Upper House, which will fall to the ministerial departments responsible for the powers that correspond to each regional department.

- Elimination of the office of the regional president and regional vice-president.

- Elimination of the Consell de Transición Nacional [National Transition Council].

- Elimination of the Patronato de Diplocat [Board of the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia]

- Elimination of all delegations overseas, known as embassies, except the delegation in Brussels.

- Removal of the representatives of the Regional Government of Catalonia in Brussels and in Madrid.

- Removal of the Secretary-General of the Regional Department of Home Affairs and the Director-General of the Regional Police Force.

These are the initial measures that we will implement to avoid those who, to date, have been responsible for the Regional Government of Catalonia continuing to take steps in their escalation of disobedience and aggression towards our Constitution and co-existence in Catalonia.

The decisions we have taken this afternoon are to restore the self-governance that was wiped out over the last few weeks by a series of illegal decisions adopted by the Regional Government of Catalonia, that were both arbitrary and exclusionary. These steps are necessary and essential to return democratic legitimacy to self-governance.

I will not make any further evaluations. I only wish to observe that today, in the Regional Parliament of Catalonia, those in favour of the policy of "the worse, the better" have prevailed; those who have taken Catalonia to a 'no through road', those who have wiped out a tradition of a unifying Catalanism that was the driver of progress in all of Spain.

Independence is heart-breaking, sad and full of anguish. That is what all the people of Catalonia who are not pro-independence feel today, and even many pro-independence democrats that do not share in the destruction caused by this operation based on lies, fraud and impositions on the social fabric of Catalonia.

The question now is to avoid further damage and to return normality to civic life in Catalonia as soon as possible. That is why the government has adopted the measures I have mentioned.

As we have said on other occasions, it is not a question of suspending self-governance or of intervening or of reducing powers. It is quite simply a case of returning to normality as soon as possible. Normality begins with the law, with recovering institutional legitimacy and returning the voice to the people of Catalonia. That is why I am informing you that today I have dissolved the Regional Parliament of Catalonia and that I am announcing that regional elections will be held in this autonomous region on 21 December.

Yesterday, the President of the Regional Government of Catalonia had the opportunity to return legality and to call elections. That is what the vast majority of Catalan society clamoured for. He chose not to do that. And hence, the Government of Spain is taking measures to recover legality and call elections in Catalonia.

We believe that it is a matter of urgency to return the voice to the citizens of Catalonia, to all of them, and under democratic conditions so that they can decide on their future, so that no-one can break the law in their name. It is the ballot box - real ballot boxes - that hold the power of the law, with checks and balances, and which can lay the foundations for the necessary recovery of co-existence among the people of Catalonia.

Catalonia needs to reconcile itself with the truth, with the law and with itself, and the government does not want to wait a minute longer to undertake this task. To that end, I have decided to call these free, clean and legal elections as soon as possible so that democracy can be restored in this autonomous region.

We never wanted to reach this situation, never, nor do we believe that it is good to prolong this exceptional situation. As we have always maintained, it is not a question of suspending autonomy, but rather of returning to the law and to harmony.

Today is also a day for calm and for hope for all the people of Spain, because it has clearly been demonstrated that the rule of law under which we live has shown that it has the instruments available to defend legality, to defend our Constitution, to defend the rules for our co-existence that we enacted between all of us, to defend the law and to guarantee the rights of all Spanish people.

I will draw to a close now. I wish to express my gratitude to the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party and to Ciudadanos and to their respective leaders, Pedro Sánchez and Albert Rivera. These measures, as you know, have been agreed with them - indeed many have been proposed by them over the course of recent days.

My thanks also go to our electoral co-allies: the Union of the People of Navarre, Asturias Forum and the Party of Aragon. They have also helped us at this very tough time for Spain.

My gratitude also to the Canary Islands Coalition and to all those who have lent their support this morning in the Upper House to the proposals made by the government and which we approved, as you will recall, at the Council of Ministers last Saturday.

Thank you all very much for your patience.

Non official translation