Merkel tells Rajoy of support for unity of Spain

Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Chancellor Angela Merkel and Christian Social Union (CSU) Bavaria State Premier Horst Seehofer address a news conference in Berlin, Germany, October 9, 2017. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Saturday to discuss the Catalan crisis and stressed her support for the unity of Spain while encouraging more dialogue, her spokesman said on Monday.

Merkel also discussed the Catalan situation with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Saturday.

“She spoke with both about the current situation in Spain and, in the talks with Prime Minister Rajoy in particular, she affirmed her support for the unity of Spain,” the German government spokesman told a regular news conference.

Merkel also discussed ways to strengthen internal dialogue within Spain as far as the constitution allows, he said.

Concern is mounting in Europe over a possible declaration of independence by the Catalan regional parliament and the reaction of the Spanish government, which could exacerbate what is already Spain’s worst political crisis for decades.

Merkel will host European Council President Donald Tusk for informal talks in Berlin on Wednesday, her spokesman said, but declined to speculate whether they would discuss the Catalan crisis.

Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Paul Carrel