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Catalan MEPs urge the EU to investigate Spain’s “attack on fundamental rights”

In a question for a written answer, MEPs ask the European Commission for an official position on Spain’s actions to stop the independence vote

13 September 2017 02:13 PM

by

ACN | Brussels

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Catalan MEPs urged the European Commission (EC) to investigate the actions by Spanish institutions to stop the independence referendum from being held on October 1. In a question for a written answer submitted on Monday, they asked the EC to position itself in regards to what they consider to be an “attack to the fundamental rights of freedom of expression, information and assembly”.

The Spanish High Court in Catalonia has instructed the Catalan Public Television (TVC) not to broadcast a government advertisement about the October 1 vote or “inform its audience about anything related to the organization” of the referendum, according to the document. If it fails to comply with the requirement, the director of the TVC risks criminal charges. MEPs say this warning amounts to censorship.

  • "What is the Commission position on this attack to the fundamental rights of freedom of expression, information and assembly in Spain?"

    Question for written answer by Catalan MEPs

In the question, MEPs also referred to the Spanish judiciary’s decision to forbid a public debate in Madrid scheduled for September 17 on Catalonia’s right to decide, following a request by Spain’s ruling People’s Party.

In the letter, Catalan MEPs cited articles 10 (on freedom of thought, conscience and religion), 11 (on freedom of expression and information) and 12 (on freedom of assembly and of association) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union as well as articles 19 (on freedom of opinion and expression) and 20 (on freedom of peaceful assembly) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The question was written by Catalan MEPs Ramon Tremosa (ALDE), Jordi Solé (Greens/EFA) and Josep-Maria Terricabras (Greens/EFA). The document was later submitted by Spanish MEP Marina Albiol (GUE/NGL) as well.

Terricabras in the European Parliament

Terricabras also brought the issue up in the European Parliament during the state of the Union debate on Wednesday. “As if it was a crime to hold a referendum, the Spanish government has taken the Catalan parliament president and other MPs to court, and threatened the Catalan government, more than a thousand public servants and the Catalan public media to prevent them from talking or acting in favour of the referendum,” he said. Terricabras described these actions as “unacceptable attacks on freedom of opinion”.

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  • Catalan MEPs Jordi Solé, Josep-Maria Terricabras and Ramon Tremosa (by ACN)