MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's Constitutional Court has agreed to hear the government's appeal against Catalonia's declaration of intent to start building a separate republic, suspending any secession process in legal terms, Spanish media reported on Wednesday.

The court also notified senior members of the Catalan Parliament, which represents Spain's wealthiest northeastern region, that if they fail to take the decision into account, they could be suspended from their posts and face legal action.

Catalonia's parliament passed a resolution this week calling for secession from Spain and setting out a plan to form a Catalan republic within 18 months by creating state institutions such as a tax office. The declaration specifically pledged to ignore rulings of the Constitutional Court.