The EU-Catalonia Dialogue Platform calls for 'unconditional lifting of direct rule'
A group of MEPs meet Carles Puigdemont in Berlin to analyze the current political situation
The EU-Catalonia Dialogue Platform has called for the 'unconditional lifting of direct rule' in Catalonia after the election of Quim Torra as the new president. A group of members of the European Parliament met on Thursday with the deposed president Carles Puigdemont in Berlin to analyze the current political situation. Puigdemont and his government were removed by Madrid following a declaration of independence in the Catalan Parliament in October last year that led to the stripping of self-rule in the country.
"The EU-Catalonia Dialogue Platform calls for the unconditional lifting of direct rule, release of political prisoners, return of exiles and for the EU to now facilitate constructive dialogue between Spanish and Catalans," said the MEPs in a comment on their Twitter profile.
The Platform is made up of a group of 40 MEPs from five different political groups and diverse member states. It was created last year to promote negotiations between Catalonia and Spain. Six of the group's members, including Irish MEP Lynn Boylan, and Swedish MEP Bodil Valero, met on Thursday with Puigdemont in Berlin.
"The Spanish State is undermining fundamental rights and the EU cannot simply sit on the sidelines while the situation continues to deteriorate," said Boylan.
The MEPs also said that the Belgian judiciary's decision not to extradite Catalan politicians Toni Comín, Meritxell Serret and Lluís Puig to Spain "casts serious doubts on the consistence of the judicial proceedings against Catalan pro-independence leaders."
"I want to thank you your commitment to European democracy and European fundamental values. And also I want to thank you for your defense of fundamental rights such as self-determination and freedom of expression, currently being violated in Spain," Puigdemont said in a joint press conference.
While the EU-Dialogue Plataform urged the EU to mediate in the Catalan situation and use "the opportunity" of a new Catalan government to help find a solution, the European political parties of the big parties in Spain - the EPP, the European Socialists and the Liberals- accused the new president, Quim Torra, of making "racist comments." The main opposition party in Catalonia, Cs, has sent a memo to all members of the European parliament with old tweets and articles from Torra arguing that the new head of the Catalan government is "sectarian." Torra apologized on three occasions for his articles and old tweets, while his supporters stressed some had been taken out of context to damage his reputation.