Puigdemont asks EU for dialogue and self-determination in plenary session

Greens see accepting him and MEP Comín in group as "illogical" due to their links to Flemish N-VA

MEP Carles Puigdemont giving a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on January 14, 2020 (by Nazaret Romero)
MEP Carles Puigdemont giving a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on January 14, 2020 (by Nazaret Romero) / ACN

ACN | Strasbourg

January 14, 2020 12:41 PM

Carles Puigdemont made an appearance in the EU parliament plenary session with a one-minute statement in which he asked the Union to get involved in the Catalan issue.

The newly recognized MEP took the floor in a debate on the Croatian presidency of the European Council and used it as an opportunity to bring up Catalonia.

Addressing the Croatian prime minister, who was present in the chamber, he said: "You must advance to find a mechanism for self-determination; repression cannot be the solution."

"A solution must be found through dialogue and negotiation," he added. "Catalonia is an internal European affair, [the issue] will be present in the Croatian presidency."

The Croatian prime minister Andrej Plenkovic responded during a press conference that the Catalan issue "hasn’t been addressed at the level of the European Council, nor is it part of the [European] Presidency's activities."

"It is a matter to be solved in Spain," he added.

Greens question accepting Catalan MEPs

Meanwhile, the Greens in the EU parliament said it is "illogical" that Puigdemont and Toni Comín should apply to be part of the Greens–European Free Alliance when the group is "opposed to their best Belgian friends," the New Flemish Alliance, or N-VA.

The N-VA, which favors the gradual secession of Flanders from Belgium, has openly supported the two pro-independence leaders since they went into exile following the 2017 independence bid.

A Greens spokesman said it made more sense for the two Catalan MEPs to apply to the European Conservatives and Reformists, a Eurosceptic group that includes the N-VA but also Spain's far-right Vox party, which is opposed to Catalonia's independence.

Diana Riba, MEP for the Catalan pro-independence ERC who are also part of the Greens–EFA grouping, commented that Puigdemont and Toni Comín were "absolutely" not outside of the group. She added that should the Greens reject the incorporation of Puigdemont and Toni Comín, she would force a vote on the issue amongst members.