Referendum raids and arrests cause ‘concern’ in Brussels

MEPs from different EU parties condemn action of Spanish police against Catalan executive, though European Commission declines to comment

Italian MEP Gianni Pittella speaking in Strasbourg in January (by the European Parliament)
Italian MEP Gianni Pittella speaking in Strasbourg in January (by the European Parliament) / ACN

ACN | Brussels

September 20, 2017 05:58 PM

Wednesday’s raids and arrests of Catalan government officials by Spanish police caused unease in Brussels. The head of the socialist and democrat group in the European Parliament, Italian MEP Gianni Pittella, tweeted that he was “concerned” by the police action and called for “dialogue and a political solution." The socialist alliance Pittella heads includes Catalan PSC and Spanish PSOE MEPs.

At the same time, the left-wing greens, GUE/NGL, called the “arrests and raids unacceptable”. The group that includes MEPs from the Podemos and IU parties in the European chamber expressed "solidarity" with the protesters who spontaneously gathered outside the Catalan economy ministry and in Sant Jaume square, where the main Catalan government building is located.

Greek MEP from the European United Left-Nordic Green Left Dimitrios Papadimoulis tweeted his support for Catalonia in Catalan, describing the drift towards detentions as “very worrisome.” He continued by stating “It’s dialogue that’s needed, not offensive actions.” Meanwhile, Ska Keller, German MEP and co-chair of the Greens parliamentary group, voiced her support on Twitter as well, saying: “Repression is no solution for a political problem. Dialogue and politics should prevail.”

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said on Twitter that “the people of Catalonia should be allowed to have their say (…) unhindered by Spanish police repression,” while Portuguese MEP Ana Gomes warned the Spanish government in a tweet that their action would only help pro-independence support. Meanwhile, Belgian MEP and leader of the European conservatives, Mark Demesmaeker, also condemned the police action and asked “where is the European Commission?”