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European Lib-Dems contradict themselves and accept 2 Spanish parties opposed to Catalan self-determination

Despite the fact that the International Liberal-Democrats explicitly recognised Catalonia's right to self-determination in their last congress in April, their group within the European Parliament (ALDE) has finally accepted 6 MEPs from the Spanish nationalist and populist parties Unión Progreso y Democracia (UPyD) and Ciutadans (C's), who totally oppose this principle. Desperately looking for seats in order to continue being the 3rd largest political group within the Euro-Chamber, the ALDE leadership proposed to accept the membership request from UPyD and C's, who would bring 4 and 2 MEPs respectively, despite the strong protests from the Catalan Liberal party CDC (which is part of the governing Convergencia i Unió coalition, CiU) and the Basque National Party (PNV). The members of the ALDE finally voted to accept UPyD and C's MEPs, but they also approved the creation of a sub-group defending Catalonia's self-determination.

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17 June 2014 09:16 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- Despite the fact that the International Liberal-Democrats explicitly recognised Catalonia's right to self-determination in their last congress in April, their group within the European Parliament (ALDE) has finally accepted 6 MEPs from the Spanish nationalist and populist parties Unión Progreso y Democracia (UPyD) and Ciutadans (C's), who totally oppose this principle. Desperately looking for seats in order to continue being the 3rd largest political group within the Euro-Chamber, the ALDE leadership proposed to accept the membership request from UPyD and C's, who would bring 4 and 2 MEPs respectively, despite the strong protests from the Catalan Liberal party CDC (which is part of the governing Convergencia i Unió coalition, CiU) and the Basque National Party (PNV). The CDC and PNV have been members of the ALDE for years and their 2 MEPs, Ramon Tremosa and Izaskun Bilbao, had insistently campaigned against the inclusion of the UPyD and C's. In the last 3 weeks, the ALDE has been internally debating this issue, with loud protests from Catalan and Basque representatives. Tremosa and Bilbao argued that UPyD and Ciutadans had issued many populist and demagogical statements. For instance UPyD compared Catalonia's self-determination process with Nazism or it run in the last legislative elections with banners portraying Spain's ID card and which read "What unites us". Finally, this Tuesday the members of the ALDE finally voted to accept UPyD and C's MEPs, but they also approved the creation of a sub-group defending Catalonia's self-determination. This sub-group will be formed by the 6 MEPs from the CDC, PNV and the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), and they will hold one of the ALDE Group Vice Chairmanships.


Finally, after three weeks of internal debates within the Liberal-Democrat Group of the European Parliament, the Spanish nationalist and populist UPyD and C's will be part of the group. After the members of the ALDE voted on accepting these two new parties, the leader of the European Liberals, the Belgian Guy Verhofstadt told the press that "the group's essential stance" will be not to deal with "Spain's institutional affairs". "This is Spain's task, not ours", he said.

The ALDE creates a sub-group on the right to self-determination

Verhofstadt also insisted that the MEPs from the Catalan CDC, the Basque PNV and the Flemish N-VA will be allowed to form a working group to debate issues related to self-determination. 6 MEPs will form this sub-group, which will also hold one of the ALDE's Vice Chairmanships, explained Verhofstadt. The Catalan MEP Ramon Tremosa confirmed that this position will be for one of the 4 MEPs from the Flemish N-VA. Finally, the Belgian politician stated that this sub-group will be in charge of "deciding the issues they will deal with", and that their "freedom of expression and freedom to take their own decisions" will "not be limited".

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  • The Catalan MEP, Ramon Tremosa, at Tuesday's ALDE meeting (by L. Pous)

  • The Catalan MEP, Ramon Tremosa, at Tuesday's ALDE meeting (by L. Pous)