French president Emmanuel Macron (C), and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (3rdL) meet with workers during a visit to the Ariane 6 building site on October 27, 2017 at the Kourou space center, as part of a three-day visit in French Guiana. The Ariane 6 is a launch vehicle under development by the European Space Agency (ESA), with a first test flight scheduled for 2020. Macron arrived on October 26 in the South American territor six months after a wave of protests erupted about security problems and unemployment there. ALAIN JOCARD / AFP
French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had his “full support” in enforcing the law in Catalonia as Madrid readies to take direct control of the rebellious province.
“I have one partner in Spain, that’s Prime Minister Rajoy… the rule of law prevails in Spain, with constitutional rules. He wants to ensure they are respected and he has my full support,” Macron told reporters on the sidelines of a visit to the overseas territory of French Guiana.
His Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian made it clear that France “does not recognise the declaration of independence”.
Spain’s constitution “must be respected,” he added. “France wants a strong and unified Spain.”
Earlier this week French backers of Catalonian independence offered “hospitality” to Catalan president Carles Puidgemont to lead a government-in-exile in Perpignan, a southern French city with deep Catalan roots.
France’s Pyrenees-Orientales area was for centuries a part of Catalonia, only becoming French in the latter half of the 17th century.
Many of the Spanish Republicans that fled to the region during the long dictatorship of General Francisco Franco were Catalan.