By Martin Kelly
European Commission officials have been accused of bowing to pressure from Madrid and issuing false statements of denial over comments made by Vice President Viviane Reding relating to international law and Catalonian independence.
The claims, from a Spanish journalist who recently interviewed Ms Reding, centre around remarks attributed to the senior EC Official who was responding to a suggestion that Catalonia would lose its EU membership if it won independence from Spain.
In a recent interview, Viviane Reding, the Luxembourgeois vice-president of the European Commission – who was on a visit to the Andalusian parliament – was asked whether international law meant that Catalonia would have to leave the EU in the event of the region achieving independence.
According to the journalist, Federico Durán Basallote, Ms Reding responded to his question by dismissing the suggestion, saying international law said no such thing.
The interview led to an article in Spanish newspaper Diario de Sevilla in which Ms Reding’s comments were portrayed as strengthening arguments in favour of newly independent states, already members of the EU, remaining members.
Ms Reding’s interview was a severe blow to the credibility of the Spanish and UK governmental claims, both of whom have insisted that Catalonia and Scotland would be automatically expelled from the EU on attaining independence, and would have to re-apply for entry.
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