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European Ombudsman: EC's statements on Catalonia's independence are "a personal view"

The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, warned that "any declaration made by members of the EU institutions" regarding Catalonia's independence "would be reflecting their personal view and not the official position of the institution". By stating this, O'Reilly answered a letter sent by Catalan MEPs from liberal CDC, left wing pro-independence ERC-NeCat, Christian Democrat UDC and Eco-Socialist ICV. In the letter, they expressed their concerns about the double version of EC president Jean-Claude Juncker's answer on Catalonia and the problems that many Catalans abroad faced to vote. O'Reilly admitted to being "up to date" on the double answer scandal but asked the MEPs to contact the EC first. Regarding the problems with the vote abroad, O'Reilly considered them a "national matter" and refused the meeting request "for the moment". 

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19 October 2015 02:33 PM

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ACN

Brussels (CNA).- "Any declaration made by members of the EU institutions" regarding Catalonia's independence "would be reflecting their personal view and not the official position of the institution", stated the European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly. She stated this in a letter to Catalan MEPs from liberal CDC, left wing pro-independence ERC-NeCat, Christian Democrat UDC and Eco-Socialist ICV. The MEPs wrote O'Reilly to express their concern about the double version of EC president Jean-Claude Juncker's answer on Catalonia and the problems that many Catalans abroad faced to vote. "The treaties of the European Union do no foresee any procedure for a potential secession of a part of a territory of a Member State", she assured. O'Reilly refused to hold a meeting "for the moment" with these Catalan MEPs to discuss the problems with the vote abroad in the 27-S Catalan Elections, as they requested. She also admitted to being "up to date" on the double version scandal but asked the MEPs to contact the EC rather than requesting the European Ombudsman to investigate it.  


The EC won't do any official legal analysis of the consequences of an independent Catalonia unless the Spanish government requests it to do so. However, the EC and its President Jean Claude Juncker's spokesman, Margaritis Schinas, repeatedly warned during the electoral campaign that “if a part of a Member State ceases to be a part of that state” as a result of an independence process, the new region “will become a third country and may apply to become a member of the EU”. Schinas stated that he was simply repeating the same “position maintained by the Commission since 2004” set out by the president of the European Commission at that time, Romano Prodi.

Nevertheless, the European Ombudsman office clarified that such statements reflected a "personal view" and denied that it was "the official position of the institution" as "the treaties of the European Union do no foresee any procedure for a potential secession of a part of a territory of a Member State". That's why, in the letter, the Omdudsman said that it didn't make sense to start an investigation on the issue of the double answer. 

O'Reilly stated this in a letter sent by her chief of staff, Aidan O'Sullivan, answering Catalan MEPs from liberal CDC, Ramon Tremosa, left wing pro-independence ERC-NeCat, Josep Maria Terricabras and Ernest Maragall, Christian Democrat UDC Francesc Gambús and Eco-Socialist ICV, Ernest Urtasun.

The scandal of the double answer of EC president Jean-Claude Junker

Catalan MEPs also complained to the European Ombudsman about the double version of EC president Jean-Claude Junker's answer regarding an independent Catalonia. Ramon Tremosa, Ernest Maragall and Josep Maria Terricabras, members of pro-independence list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ urged to “make a public statement opening a full and open investigation to clarify this political scandal”. “As deeply pro-European politicians we have always had faith in the Commission as the guardian of the Treaties” they stated and lamented that due to this “scandal”, “part of that trust has vanished”. In her answer, O'Reilly admitted to being "up to date" on the double version of EC president Jean-Claude Junker's answer but asked the MEPs to contact the EC rather than requesting the European Ombudsman to investigate it.    

No inquiry into the problems with the vote abroad

The Catalan MEPs also expressed their worries regarding the problems in the vote abroad for the 27-S Catalan elections and asked O'Reilly to hold a meeting "as soon as possible" to discuss this issue. O'Reilly rejected holding a meeting "for the moment". 

 

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  • EC's President, Jean-Claude Juncker and European Ombudsman, Emily O'Rilley (by ACN)

  • EC's President, Jean-Claude Juncker and European Ombudsman, Emily O'Rilley (by ACN)