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Catalan trial ‘proof that European democracy needs to be improved,’ says Puigdemont

Exiled former president asks "why is the EU more concerned about what’s going on in Venezuela than what’s happening in Madrid?"


12 February 2019 05:00 PM


ACN | Berlin

The exiled former president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, has said that the trial of independence leaders, which started in Spain’s Supreme Court on Tuesday, "proves that Europe needs to improve its democracy."

Speaking from the Catalan government offices in Berlin, Puigdemont said that the trial poses a "stress test" for Spain and its judiciary, as well as Spanish democracy, "because the judiciary is one of the bases of the rule of law in our democracies."  

Puigdemont left Catalonia following a declaration of independence in October, 2017, after being suspended by Spain. The ministers who stayed are now facing trial for organizing the independence bid.

Puigdemont was very vocal in criticizing the European Union: "Why is the EU more concerned about what’s going on in Venezuela than what’s happening in Madrid today?”

The pro-independence leader went on to say that "we need to hear the voice of the EU as clear as when it's defending human rights and fundamental values around the world, because it’s its duty.”

Puigdemont's former ministers speak out

Puigdemont's former health minister, Toni Comín, who is also in exile in Belgium, said the trial showed "the lack of democratic quality" in Spain, and he referred to the people who voted in the 2017 referendum: "a democracy that tries to judge two million people is not a democracy."

The former minister was part of a protest in Brussels outside the European Commission building that included his exiled former government colleagues, Meritxell Serret and Lluís Puig.

Puig, who was Puigdemont's culture minister when the government was dismissed in 2017 after the independence bid, called the trial a "farce" and insisted that "no crime" had been committed. Puig also rejected the call by Spanish foreign minister, Josep Borrell, for an end to the "voices heard on an international level."