NOTE! This site uses cookies

By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more detalis, see Read more

Accept

What are you looking for?

Spanish Parliament approves law allowing Rajoy to take control of Catalan police "to defend Spain"

The Spanish Parliament has approved a bill through which the Spanish Government can take control of the Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalonia's police corps managed by the Catalan Executive), in order "to defend Spain" or in the event of a natural disaster. The Spanish Government has justified the measure by stressing the need to enhance coordination in a crisis situation, putting several security corps under the same command. However, the law also comes in the middle of Catalonia's debate on independence from Spain and with several voices in Madrid, including leading members of the Spanish Government, talking about the possibility of suspending Catalonia's autonomy in the event of a unilateral declaration of independence. The Catalan Government will take the new law to the Constitutional Court, as it is an invasion of its own powers.

SHARE

22 July 2015 08:02 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The Spanish Parliament has approved a bill through which the Spanish Government can take control of the Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalonia's police corps managed by the Catalan Executive), in order "to defend Spain" or in the event of a natural disaster. The Spanish Government has justified the measure by stressing the need to enhance coordination in a crisis situation, putting several security corps under the same command. However, the law also comes in the middle of Catalonia's debate on independence from Spain and with several voices in Madrid, including leading members of the Spanish Government, talking about the possibility of suspending Catalonia's autonomy in the event of a unilateral declaration of independence.


Catalonia will appeal against the law

The Catalan Government will take the new law to the Constitutional Court if it is not changed in the final Senate approval process, as it currently is an invasion of Catalonia's own powers. The Catalan Minister for Home Affairs, Jordi Jané, wishes for the law to be modified in the Senate, although there are few chances of this happening. Furthermore, Jané hopes the law will only be used for "exceptional" civil protection emergencies, and not for reasons related to "power interferences".

The law has been approved by the PP, PSOE and UPyD

The new bill has been approved with the votes of the People's Party (PP), which holds an absolute majority in the Chamber, and those of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and the Spanish nationalist and populist party Unión Progreso y Democracia (UPyD). The rest of the parties have voted against it and many of them have emphasised the invasion of powers managed by local authorities and the Autonomous Community governments.

The new law obliges all public bodies "to ensure the availability of the essential services" for the goals set by the Spanish Government and the National Security Council. The measures aim to face risks and threats in a more coordinated way, so that all the security means managed by town halls and Autonomous Community governments, such as Catalonia's, can be put under a single authority, with this authority being a member of the Spanish Government. The bill has been presented as a way to strengthen coordination and offer a better response in the event of major natural disasters or accidents, but article 3 of it also talks about "guaranteeing the defence of Spain, as well as its Constitutional principles and values". In addition, the Social-Democrat Catalan independence party ERC presented an amendment which would prevent the law from being used as a response to actions deriving from a decision adopted by a parliament, such as a declaration of independence. The PP rejected including this amendment in the law.

Catalan parties protest

Catalan parties have protested and have emphasised that in the last few months, and increasingly in the last few days, many politicians from the rest of Spain are talking about "suspending Catalonia's autonomy" and even implementing a "state of siege". According to Joan Tardà from the ERC, such expressions had not been heard in Spain for many decades and are now being repeated "without any complex". According to him, this is a strategy "to spread fear" a few weeks before the forthcoming Catalan elections, which will be transformed into a 'de facto' plebiscite on independence by the pro-independence parties.

Toni Picó, MP from the Christian-Democrat Catalan party UDC, stated that they agree on improving coordination in the event of emergencies caused by natural disasters or accidents, but totally disagree about the law's text and the fact it steals powers from the Autonomous Communities and recentralises them.

SHARE

  • Security cameras in the Spanish Parliament (by ACN)

  • Security cameras in the Spanish Parliament (by ACN)