Europe should urge Spain to start dialogue on Catalonia, say MEPs
European Parliament members demand the release of imprisoned pro-independence leaders following their victory in election
A group of European Parliament (EP) members visiting Catalonia on election day asked the European Union to respect the results of the vote: that is, the victory for pro-independence parties. The MEPs urged the EU to call on the Spanish government to open a dialogue with pro-independence leaders, and even suggested that the EU might act as a mediator.
“It is time for people to sit around the table and respect the fact that over two million people yesterday voted for pro-independence parties,” said Martina Anderson, an Irish MEP for the Sinn Féin and member of the European United Left-Nordic Green Left (GUE-NGL) group. “I think the EU has a role to play, perhaps mediating between the Spanish government and the Catalan government.”
The officials further demanded the release of imprisoned Catalan leaders. “We really urge that all the ministers who are still behind bars are released immediately and that political leaders in exile come back to take up their mandates as free men and women,” said Mark Demesmaeker, a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists EP group for the New Flemish Alliance.
“This is a historic moment, it’s a question on whether the EU will accept this kind of authoritarianism inside the EU or not"
Mark Demesmaeker · European Conservatives and Reformists MEP
Both Anderson and Demesmaeker are members of the EU-Catalonia Dialogue platform, encompassing around 30 MEPs from different political groups at the chamber.
Demesmaeker stressed the importance of the Catalan election for the EU. “This is a historic moment, it’s a question on whether the EU will accept this kind of authoritarianism inside the EU or not,” he said. “You have to respect democratic values and founding principles on which the EU is built and that we all share, and I’ve looked it up this morning: Spain is still a member of the EU, so they should respect these democratic values.”
Meanwhile, the president of the European Free Alliance (EFA), the corsican politician François Alfonsi, said that countries marked by centralism and nationalist nostalgia go against Europe and the European people, no matter whether they are from Corsica, Catalonia or Spain.