President Puigdemont urges integration of Catalan police with Europol
Vice president demands meeting with Spanish counterpart to tackle “688 million euro” debt on security
The Catalan police needs to be integrated with Europol. This is what the Catalan president Carles Puigdemont demanded from the Spanish government on Monday evening. According to Puigdemont, “when Mossos d’Esquadra (the Catalan police) integrate with full rights with Europol, our country's security will improve.” This has been a long-time demand by the Catalan authorities and police. The European police union EuroCOP also requested it last month in an interview with ACN.
“It is now obvious that the demand makes complete sense,” said the Catalan president. His ministers of home affairs and justice, Joaquim Forn and Carles Mundó, have supported his view over the past few hours. Catalan pro-independence parties ERC and PDeCAT, along with pro-referendum En Comú Podem, made the same call on Monday evening in a meeting involving most of the political parties in the Spanish Parliament. The Spanish minister of home affairs, Juan Ignacio Zoido, promised that the Mossos would have access to Europol “soon”.
Catalonia had been asking for a security meeting with Spain for years
Barcelona had been asking for a bilateral security meeting between the Catalan and Spanish governments for years. One of the big motivations behind holding the meeting was for Madrid to grant the Mossos access to the EU law enforcement agency’s database. The meeting was finally held last month after an eight-year absence. Madrid accepted the demand and pledged that the Mossos would be included in the Spanish antiterrorist body. However, this has not been enforced yet.
"The amount pending by Spain on security until 2017 is 688 million euros"
Oriol Junqueras · Catalan vice president
In the meeting held in the Catalan’s capital, the Spanish government also officially verified the number of police officers compared to the last meeting in 2009. This is the first step in both administrations to agreeing on how to fund them. The Catalan vice president said that according to their estimates, “the amount pending until 2017 is 688 million euros.” Oriol Junqueras demanded a meeting with his Spanish counterpart, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, to tackle this issue.
Controversy over Spanish home affairs minister statement
Another controversy involving Catalan and Spanish security in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks concerns communication. President Puigdemont and all other officials on both sides have been praising the coordination between security forces over the whole episode. However on Saturday, in his first appearance two days after the events, the Spanish minister of home affairs, Juan Ignacio Zoido, said that the terrorist cell had been “dismantled”. A few hours later, the Catalan police denied the statement, noting once again that they were leading the operation and that Younes Abouyaaqoub was still at large.
Forn and the Spanish representative in Catalonia, Enric Millo, are to meet on Tuesday at noon. The Catalan and Spanish home affairs ministers might also hold a meeting on Saturday in Barcelona.