EU council president says he understands both sides, but urges Catalan leader to avoid disaster for region, Spain and Europe

Donald Tusk, president of the European council, has made a personal appeal to the leader of Catalonia to hold off from announcing independence from Spain or risk making peaceful dialogue impossible.

Addressing regional leaders in Brussels, Tusk, a former prime minister of Poland, who fought for his country’s independence from the Soviet Union, said he understood the “emotions and arguments” of both sides, as someone who was from an ethnic minority, had personally been subject to police brutality and had led a major EU state.

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