Spain’s government has given Catalonia’s separatist leader five days to say whether or not he has declared independence, government sources say.
If Carles Puigdemont confirms he has, the sources say, he will be given a further three days to withdraw the declaration.
Failing that, they add, Madrid will invoke Article 155 of the constitution.
This allows central government to suspend a region’s autonomy and impose direct rule.
Earlier on Wednesday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said his government had asked the regional government to clarify whether or not it had declared independence.
Catalan leaders signed a declaration of independence on Tuesday but halted implementation to allow for talks.
Spain has been in turmoil since the separatist government held a disputed referendum in Catalonia on 1 October which was declared invalid by the country’s Constitutional Court.