European Union: Catalonia referendum 'not legal

Madrid as the country grapples with its biggest political crisis in decades over an indep

Jordi Turull, the Catalan regional government spokesman, has claimed that 90% of the 2.26 million Catalans who voted were in favor of independence. Spanish courts had ruled the referendum unconstitutional. He said it was "obvious that we need mediation", adding: "We don't want a traumatic break".

"We have earned the right to be heard, to be respected and to be recognised".

Merkel is seen as a key figure in European politics, and is now negotiating with other political parties on ways of forming a new coalition government.

"In the short-term, this doesn't necessarily harm Rajoy", said Barroso.

Tensions continue as Catalan independence supporters in Barcelona protest the police violence during Sunday's independence referendum.

Gerard Pique was booed as he trained with Spain for the first time since voicing his support for Catalan independence.

"There is no possibility of dialogue now with the government".

The majority of voters called for the region's independence, but Spain doesn't recognize the referendum as legit. Madrid says the constitution prohibits secession and is non-negotiable. "It has only served to separate Catalonia and Spain more and it will have consequences".

Some analysts said the images of the crackdown may help boost worldwide support for the secessionists.

The 28-nation European Union should "stop looking the other way" and send mediators to Catalonia, said the region's president, Carles Puigdemont. He said Brussels had been timid and lacked courage on the matter. "He has acted badly and late, in line with his tendency to let problems fester", El EspaƱol said.

European Union: Catalonia referendum 'not legal
European Union: Catalonia referendum 'not legal

Photo Catalan nationalists blocked a street in a clash with the police in Spain on Sunday.

Several left-wing Spanish politicians demanded Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy resign after over the use of force by police. Hundreds were left injured.

Puigdemont said the Catalan parliament planned within days to formally declare independence from Spain, but he urged Rajoy to discuss matters before that happens.

Meanwhile, Poland's government has expressed hope for a "quick stabilization of the situation in Catalonia" through dialogue and compromise, "without resorting to force or street demonstrations".

Catalon authorities said 844 people needed medical attention after the weekend unrest, with at least 92 confirmed injured.

Catalonia, a region of 7.5 million people bordered by the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees, is about the size of Belgium, accounting for 6.3 percent of Spain's territory and 16 percent of its population. Financial markets were rattled.

"I am very proud of Catalonia and all its people", an emotional Pique told reporters as tears welled up in his eyes after a routine 3-0 win over Las Palmas in an empty Camp Nou on an otherwise extraordinary day.

With 91 caps, Pique is one of Spain's most experienced footballers. Although it already has extensive autonomy, its tax revenues are crucial to Spain's state budget.

The pact calls for SGR to support ongoing communications efforts between the governments and business communities of Catalonia and the US.

The two major groups in the European Parliament, the Conservatives and the Socialists, have so far opposed putting the issue of Catalonia on the agenda.