(QHA) -

Spain’s parliament has overwhelmingly rejected Catalonia’s bid to hold a referendum on independence, Euronews reports.

After a seven-hour debate 299 lawmakers voted against, 47 voted for and one abstained.

“I defend the permanence of Catalonia in Spain because I can’t think of Spain without Catalonia and I can’t think of Catalonia outside Spain and outside Europe,”-  Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said.

Spain already gives Catalonia powers over its education and health systems and its police.

The referendum is planned two months after an independence vote in Scotland, something Catalonia is watching closely.

QHA