The constitutional court in Spain on Wednesday rejected a resolution passed by the Catalan assembly paving the way to establishing an independence republic in 18 months.
The resolution which was passed last month, declared Catalan as "sovereign" and called for the drafting of laws within 30 days in order to create an independent system of maining security, as well as a separate treasury.
The court, which was presenting a ruling on an appeal made by the Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, stated the Catalan assembly "cannot set itself up as a source of legal and political legitimacy to the point of assuming the authority to violate the constitutional order."
Mr Rajoy, who has firmly opposed independence, praised the ruling.
"The immense majority of Spaniards who believe in Spain, national sovereignty and the equality of Spaniards will be very pleased," he said.