Catalonia’s foreign affairs chief has appealed for support from the EU for the region’s planned referendum calling for independence from Spain.

Catalonia’s separatist government has called the vote for 1 October, and the Spanish government is trying to hinder the efforts. 

Catalan foreign affairs representative Raul Romeva, speaking in Brussels said that EU institutions need to “understand that (the referendum) is a big issue.”

Mr Romeva’s comments came the day after Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont accused the EU of “turning its back” on Catalonia in its conflict with Spain’s central government.

The Spanish leadership has rejected the vote as illegal.

Spain’s constitutional court ordered a suspension of the referendum the day after kit was announced. 

Mr Romeva accused the Spanish government of a “brutal crackdown” on Catalan officials in an attempt to stop the referendum vote.

He added that it is “generated an unprecedented level of shock.” 

Mr Romeva does not expect violence, as “it is not in the Catalan DNA to use violence to solve political problems.”

The mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau said the EU cannot remain passive on the disputed Catalan referendum. 

She called on the EU Commission to mediate between Catalonia and the Spanish government, as the tensions grow. 

She said: “Europe cannot allow itself to adopt a passive position over the Catalan question, seeing that the events going on in Barcelona are affecting Paris, Madrid, Brussels, and Berlin alike.”

Sunday’s vote will be the region’s second referendum for independence in three years. 

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