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'Democracy in crisis in Spain,' says former Finnish MP on Catalan issue

"What is happening in Catalonia is a huge issue for the whole European Union," says Mikko Kärnä in interview with Catalan News

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02 July 2018 08:23 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Former Finnish MP Mikko Kärnä has been outspoken in his support for Catalonia’s self-determination. Although he is no longer MP, he is still observing the political situation  in Catalonia closely, after having put forward several initiative in his country’s parliament over the past few months. Catalan News speaks with him after he met with president Quim Torra.

What did you discuss with the Catalan president?

Mainly we discussed the current political situation in Catalonia and also about the internationalization of the Catalan process, and things people are interested abroad about Catalonia. We also discussed the Nordic Council and my proposal to the Nordic Council to help achieve a negotiated and mediated solution in the crisis of Catalonia. 

Could you give us more details about this proposal to the nordic council? Why do you think this is important for the Catalan government?

Nordic countries in general have a long experience in providing negotiated and mediated solutions to crises around the world. This proposal does not say what kind of stance we should take in the issue of Catalan independence, but it states that we should help in the Nordic countries for Catalonia and Spain to sit at the same table, and to achieve a negotiated and mediated solution. In my opinion, it should be done through the Nordic Council of ministers, and I'm hoping that the Nordic Council will debate this in their next meeting in Autumn. 

As an avid commentator of the country's politics on Twitter, you have repeatedly criticized Spain for the measures against the independence movement. As an external observer, how do you see the political situation in Catalonia? 

To my opinion, democracy is in crisis in Spain. It has serious flaws, serious problems. As a European citizen I wish to help this area to regain its democracy. What is happening in Catalonia is a huge issue for the whole European Union. The EU is based on values of democracy, on values of human rights, self-determination. In the union, we have duties for Catalan people also, and we must protect the rights of European citizens living in this area also.

How do Finnish people feel about the political situation in Catalonia? Are they interested in what's going on? What are the mainstream views on the issue?

As Finns, it is very easy for us to relate to situation in Catalonia. We have been an independent nation for one hundred years, and before our independence we were heavily oppressed and repressed by Russia, when we were an autonomy under Russian rule. In Finland, things that happen in Catalonia have been reported quite extensively. Especially after president Puigdemont visited the parliament and the University of Helsinki, many Finns have become aware that the situation in Catalonia is very important and why it is important for us Finns also. 

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