FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Union should not mediate in the secession crisis in Spain’s northern region of Catalonia as Madrid is able to handle the situation, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday.
Macron was speaking ahead of a possible proclamation of independence later on Tuesday by Carles Puigdemont, president of the Catalan regional government, that would aggravate Spain’s worst political crisis since an attempted military coup in 1981.
“Why are Europe, France and Germany not interfering in the Catalan issue? Because Europe is made up of sovereign states,” Macron said on a visit to Frankfurt, Germany, where he later met Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“If I were to intervene in the Catalan matter it would be interfering in the domestic affairs of Spain and that would be intolerable for the prime minister and for the Spanish monarch.”
Macron backed Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in his standoff with the secessionists. “I don’t have the feeling that they are being oppressed,” he said.
“That is why I continue to hold firm to this line in my declarations of support for Mariano Rajoy - because if I don’t there will be disintegration,” he said in a debate before university students.
Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Additional reporting by Michel Rose in Paris; Editing by Michelle Martin/Mark Heinrich