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Barcelona mayor calls for EU dialogue to de-escalate political tension

Ada Colau asks the Catalan government to give up unilateral independence and demands Spain to withdraw police forces

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06 October 2017 03:24 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Barcelona mayor, Ada Colau, called for a “multi-level dialogue platform” under the European Commission’s (EC) supervision in order to de-escalate the political standoff between governments in Catalonia and Madrid. In a meeting with European consuls on Thursday, Colau laid out her proposal for a temporary settlement that could cool off tensions amid an imminent declaration of independence and the expected backlash from Spain.

“Finding a solution to the profound political problems is difficult,” Colau admitted. “But it would not be that hard to de-escalate the tension, which is what most of the population want regardless of what their opinion on independence is.”

  • "Finding a solution to the profound political problems is difficult. But it would not be that hard to de-escalate the tension, which is what most of the population want”

    Ada Colau · Barcelona mayor

In order to bring tensions down, Colau underlines the importance of both parts giving in. On the one side, she asks the pro-independence Catalan president Carles Puigdemont not to go on with plans to declare independence next week. On the other, Colau demands the Spanish executive to withdraw police officers from Catalonia and resist the temptation of taking over the region’s self-government.

Europe's role

The role of the EC would not be to mediate between governments, according to Colau, but to “somehow” make space for dialogue between both parts. “We’re not asking for something [the Commission] can’t do, we’re not talking about mediation, we’re talking about dialogue,” she stated.

Not only would the dialogue platform include representatives from the Catalan and Spanish governments, but also other actors, such as MEPs, professional mediators and even the city councils of Madrid and Barcelona. (Both cities are ruled by parties close to Spain’s left-wing Podemos.)

The meeting was attended by consuls from Germany, France, Great Britain, Belgium, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Denmark and Slovakia, among others. EU officials in Barcelona were also present.

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  • Barcelona mayor Ada Colau (by Patrícia Mateos)