Estonia “forgot” Catalonia during EU presidency, says Irish MEP
Luke Ming Flanagan: “You have done well with independence, why stop Catalonia doing the same?”
The Irish MEP Luke Ming Flanagan accused Estonia of “forgetting” Catalonia during its 6-month term heading the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union.
In a debate at the European Parliament to evaluate the presidency on Tuesday, Flanagan — who is part of the European United Left–Nordic Green Left group — said Estonia’s reaction after the October 1 referendum on independence left him “disappointed”.
“As someone who comes from a small country, you appreciate the fact that you are independent,” said Flanagan to the Estonian Prime Minister, Jüri Ratas, who was in the chamber.
“Now you’ve pulled up the drawbridge and you’ve forgotten about others. Ireland has done well with independence. You have done well with independence. Why stop Catalonia doing the same? Why not let them have a voice? Why have their leaders exiled?”
According to Flanagan, Ratas’ statement after the referendum labelled Spain as “a democratic state based on the rule of law”. Yet, Flanagan criticizes the Estonian leader for his words: “Where was the rule of law when people were beaten up at polling stations? Where was the rule of law when people were bloodied? When they were denied their democratic rights?”
The presidency of the Council, the institution representing the member states’ governments, rotates among the EU countries every 6 months. Member states holding the presidency work together in groups of three. The current trio encompasses Austria, Bulgaria and Estonia.