European Parliament urged to tackle referendum day violence
The chamber’s Committee on Petitions receives around 40 citizens requests about the political situation in Catalonia
The European Parliament has received in the past six months around 40 requests from citizens who ask the chamber to tackle democracy and the political situation in Catalonia. The appeals also include the Spanish police violence during the referendum on independence held in Catalonia on October 1. The complaints were filed by the Committee on Petitions (PETI), whose secretariat proposes to declare most of the requests “unacceptable” for not being within the competence of the EU. Yet this is only a suggestion, as “it is for the members of the committee to assess all the petitions and to decide whether they are declared acceptable or unacceptable,” according to parliamentary sources.
Pro-independence Esquerra MEP Josep Maria Terricabras, member of the PETI, said that it is inappropriate to reject the requests for this reason, as the European Parliament has already debated about the situation in Catalonia. The Catalan representative also told the Catalan News Agency that a decision about accepting these complaints “has not been taken” by the members of this committee yet. Terricabras reminded that the secretariat's position is not binding and it is for the MEPs in the PETI to decide over the issue.
According to Terricabras, the secretariat justified its decision by stating that “it is an issue that does not affect the EU”. Still, the Catalan MEP argued that this is not true, as the European Parliament held a debate on the political situation in Catalonia. Despite the secretariat declaring most of the requests as “unacceptable”, the Catalan MEP insisted that it can classify the requests received, but then it is time to discuss the final decision at a meeting and, if necessary, to vote on it.
For its part, the European parliament told the Catalan News Agency that the secretariat does not take into account “political references” and that it “only analyses whether the content of requests are within the competency of the EU.” That is, if the EU can do something about it. "In any case, MEPs have not made a decision about Catalonia," they added.
Still, Terricabras noted that the secretariat’s decision is a “first step” that has "little importance". He also stressed that the requests must be analysed “one by one” and that so far, more than 40 have been filed. Still, the Europen parliament noted that this number is “estimated” but not “accurate”.
Ciutadans takes rejection for granted
Despite the PETI not taking a final decision over the requests, the Ciutadans party MEP Javier Nart takes the rejection of the requests for granted. In a press statement, he noted that the PETI "repeatedly dismisses” the requests concerning pro-independence issues and welcomed PETI’s decisions over these kinds of requests.
For a request to be accepted, one-third of the members of the commission must be in favour of it. That is, if 12 of the 36 representatives take part in it. According to the Catalan MEP, the final decision on the acceptance of requests will "surely" be made at the end of January, or in February, when the Commission is expected to meet.
According to the European Parliament, the PETI is a bridge between citizens and the European institutions. In addition, it allows all European citizens to exercise their right to address the European Parliament to tackle problems they face in their daily life.