Pressure is mounting on Nicola Sturgeon’s government to endorse the Catalan independence movement’s proposal to hold a referendum on seceding from Spain in October.
Yesterday leading Catalan politician Ramon Tremosa called on the Scottish Government to support controversial plans to break away from Madrid rule.
Tremosa, a professor of economics at Barcelona University and a Catalan nationalist MEP, said he was hopeful the common ties between Scottish and Catalan independence supporters would see the Scottish Government back his cause.
Speaking to Scotland on Sunday, Tremosa said Sturgeon’s recent call for a second Scottish independence referendum gave force to his argument that the Scottish Government should declare its backing.
“The SNP ran at the Scottish election with a manifesto opening the door to another referendum if there was momentum depending on the situation in British and Scottish politics,” Tremosa said.
“So it is not just the government it is also a majority of the Scottish people who have the same idea as us, which is why we would like to have the support. But it is up to the Scottish Government to decide if it is the right moment to do so – or something to do after the referendum.”
The situation in Catalonia poses a diplomatic dilemma for the SNP.
Many nationalist politicians have fostered close links with their Catalan counterparts on the grounds that they are fighting similar causes.
Although sympathetic to the Catalan separatists, the SNP administration is wary of angering Madrid, which opposes the referendum organised by Carles Puigdemont, the president of the Catalan regional government.
Spain’s central government has said the referendum would be illegal and has vowed to block it.
Under Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, Madrid can directly intervene in the running of the region and force it to drop the vote.
Falling out with the Madrid-based government would be unhelpful to Sturgeon as she tries to encourage the idea that an independent Scotland could get back into the EU.
Spanish politicians have discouraged the idea of Scotland maintaining its relationship with the EU, because they do not want to set a precedent that would encourage Catalan separatists.
Tremosa acknowledged that the Scottish Government was in a difficult position.
“We follow Scottish politics closely,” he said. “I believe the Scottish Government chooses a path of non-interference because we know the Spanish state is very uneasy and we will respect any decision the Scottish Government takes with our referendum.”
Faced with Tremosa’s remarks the Scottish Government referred the enquiry to the SNP, who declined to comment.