A year after the independence vote, the yellow ribbons of Catalan separatists remain controversial in Spain. At night, unionists loyal to Madrid tear them down; by the next morning, new ones have already replaced them.
Borrell has been Spanish Foreign Minister under socialist Pedro Sanchez since June 2018. His European experience goes back to when he was President of the European Parliament between 2004 and 2007.
Four Catalan lawmakers must now choose between leaving their seats in parliament empty or resigning. In a fractious assembly, the ruling could work in the favor of acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
Catalonia separatist Carles Puigdemont, who fled Spain after a 2017 secession attempt, has been banned from standing in the EU elections. He and two colleagues had wanted to advance the case for Catalan independence.
Pro-separatists in Spain have protested the trial of 12 Catalan leaders with rallies, clashing with police and blocked roads and railways. Several people have already been arrested in the region-wide strike.
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