Spain’s Catalonia region seems set on a new collision course with Madrid after a vow by its leader to hold an independence referendum in 2017.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont promised a “legal and binding” vote in his televised New Year’s speech.
A consultative ballot in 2014, which recorded a large majority for independence, was ignored by Spain.
Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy has again ruled out the possibility of a referendum.
Embracing Spain’s second city, Barcelona, Catalonia is one of the country’s richest regions.
Separatist sentiment has built into a mass movement over the past five years, promoting a distinct Catalan identity which goes back centuries.
In his video address (in Catalan), Mr Puigdemont said: “We Catalans will freely decide our own future through a legal and binding referendum.”
Such a vote is expected to take place in September, based on a resolution passed by the Catalan parliament, where separatists hold a majority of seats.
Speaking on Friday, PM Rajoy said: “It is not possible to hold a referendum that will do away with national sovereignty and the equality of Spaniards.
“This is not going anywhere, I’m offering something which is a lot more reasonable – dialogue. I ask that no more steps are taken in the opposite direction.”
Mr Rajoy and his conservative Popular Party recently won opposition support to rule as a minority government following an inconclusive general election in June.
Catalan officials involved in holding the outlawed 2014 ballot have since faced sanctions or trial.