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Situation in Catalonia for Spain to decide, says Timmermans

EU shouldn't interfere as long as fundamental rights "are not violated," states European Commission vice-president

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27 February 2018 12:57 PM

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ACN | Leuven

The vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, has stated that the European Union does not have to interfere with the situation in Catalonia, as long as fundamental rights “are not violated.”

Speaking in the Belgian city of Leuven, in Flanders, he said that the relationship between Catalonia and Spain must be decided by all citizens of the state to decide.

“Spain is a democratic country, and all citizens are beneath the law,” the EC’s vice-president maintained, “the law cannot simply be ignored, which is what happened.”

Police violence

He did, however, admit that Spain committed “errors” with the use of police violence on the day of the referendum last year, leaving over 1000 people injured, according to the Catalan health department.

The president of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, recently stated that he was “proud” of the Spanish police response to what he termed a “coup against democracy.”

  • "The law cannot simply be ignored"

    Frans Timmermans · Vice-president of European Commission

The Spanish president also said that the state authorities had done their duty in “defending democracy, ensuring the enforcement of the law and protecting the rights of citizens.”

Amnesty International, on the other hand, recently included Spain in its annual report on the state of human rights worldwide, mentioning the “excessive” use of police force against citizens trying to vote.

European Commission “should do more”

The minister-president of Flanders, Geert Bourgeois, disagreed with Timmermans. He recalled that there is an elected government in Catalonia and yet Article 155 continues to apply, as well as people who are “in exile.” The European Commission “should do more,” he said, and promote dialogue, “or even mediate.”

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  • Frans Timmermans, vice-president of European Commission, in Strasbourg on October 4, 2017 (by ACN)

  • Frans Timmermans, vice-president of European Commission, in Strasbourg on October 4, 2017 (by ACN)