The government of Spain does “not accept ultimatums.” This message was delivered by the Spanish government spokesperson Isabel Celaá this Tuesday in a press conference, called last minute to respond to the deadline set by Catalan president Quim Torra for a referendum on independence by November.

Celaá further urged “calm,” and warned Torra that “disproportionate decisions” from the past “must not condition” what happens in the future. “There are too many gestures and too little responsibility,” she said, before insisting that her government supports “dialogue and law” and the deepening of self-government.

Crucial support in congress

In his opening speech of the annual general policy debate in Parliament on Tuesday, the head of the Catalan government had warned his Spanish counterpart of the consequences if he ignores the deadline. “If there is no proposal for a vote on self-determination before November, the independence movement will not be able to guarantee Mr. Pedro Sánchez any stability in Congress,” he had said.

Sánchez dethroned Mariano Rajoy in the spring with a successful motion of no confidence that was backed by the Catalan pro-independence parties, among others. Without the support of the Esquerra and PDeCAT parties, the Spanish government will lose its majority in the Congress.