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MEPs ask Commission to act against Spanish “threats” to Catalan mayors

President Juncker says that in the event Catalonia were independent, it should go through accession negotiations

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14 September 2017 03:23 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

MEPs ask Commission to act against Spanish “threats” to Catalan mayors

President Juncker says that in the event Catalonia were independent, it should go through accession negotiations

Spain’s opened investigation against 75% of mayors in Catalonia for collaborating with the referendum has reached the European Commission. 27 MEPs submitted a parliamentary question to the Commission asking about how they will react to the “judicial and political pursuit” of the mayors.

The text gives also context about the Spanish attorney general, José Manuel Maza. He was recused by the Spanish parliament earlier this year. “However, the Spanish government turned down replacing the prosecutor for its political affinity with the People’s Party (currently in power),” says the parliamentary question.

27 MEPs from 9 different member states

The initiative was promoted by pro-independence Catalan MEPs Jordi Solé, Josep Maria Terricabras and Ramon Tremosa. A number of representatives supported the parliamentary question, including Basque Izaskun Bilbao (ALDE); Flemish Mark Demesmaeker, British Helga Stevens (ECR); Austrian Monika Vana, Latvian Tatjana Zdanoka, (Greens/EFA); German Helmut Scholz, Irish Matt Carthy, Italian Barbara Spinelli, Spanish Maria Lidia Senra and Danish Rina Ronja Kari (GUE/NGL).

Juncker’s position

The European Comission has yet to respond, but its president, Jean-Claude Juncker, supported the Spanish Constitutional Court and Parliament. “Who am I to say that the decisions taken by the maximum judicial authority in Spain and its Parliament are irrelevant?” asked Juncker. Additionally, he said that in the event that Catalonia separates from Spain, it should go through “accession negotiations.”

  • "Disobeying the rulings of the courts is not defending democracy or freedom, it’s committing a crime"

    Juan Fernando López Aguilar · Spanish Socialist MEP

MEPs opposing the referendum

Among the MEPs who oppose the referendum are Juan Fernando López Aguilar, of the Spanish Socialist Party, one of the groups most opposed to the referendum, and Esteban González Pons, MEP from the current government’s conservative People’s Party. López argued that “disobeying the rulings of the courts is not defending democracy or freedom, it’s violating the law, committing a crime.” It further claimed it to be “the negation of Europe.” Meanwhile, González compared Catalonia’s nationalism to a “virus,” ending with “Spain’s unity is also the EU’s unity.”

MEPs in favor of holding the vote

On the other hand, those MEPs who spoke in defense of the referendum noted the individual actions of the Spanish government in pursuit of politicians and civil servants. Josep Maria Terricabras, Catalan Republican Left MEP, called the court cases against the members of Catalan parliament and civil servants as “unacceptable attacks on freedom of opinion.”

Mark Demaesmeker also spoke up, in his function of MEP, and as part of the pro-Flemish independence conservative party New Flemish Alliance. He reminded Juncker of the orders given to boycott the referendum, and of the “intimidation in the media and elsewhere.” He refused to accept this, and voiced his wishes for “a Europe of citizens,” and for “democracy to flourish and be respected.”

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  • Catalan MEPs Terricabras, Solé and Tremosa

  • Catalan MEPs Terricabras, Solé and Tremosa

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