Obama Signals Opposition to Catalan Independence Push


U.S. President Barack Obama signaled his opposition to some Catalans’ ambition to break away from Spain after talks with King Felipe VI.

“As a matter of foreign policy, we are deeply committed to maintaining a relationship with a strong and unified Spain,” Obama said at a joint press conference with the Spanish monarch.

He follows German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron in speaking out against the Catalan secession process as voters in the region prepare for a Sept. 27 ballot that Catalan President Artur Mas has framed as a de facto referendum on independence. The Spanish government insists the separatists’ plans are unconstitutional.

Pro-independence parties are on track to win 69 seats in the 135-strong Catalan chamber, a slim majority, according to an opinion poll published last week by state pollster CIS

Obama last year weighed in on the Scottish referendum to break free saying on Twitter the day before the vote that he hoped the U.K. “remains strong, robust and united.”

The European Union’s treaties “guarantee the territorial integrity of its members,” Merkel said at a joint conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Sept. 1. “It is expected that the national and international legislation will be observed.”