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Romeva, at the Irish Parliament: The referendum is “inevitable”

Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, said the Catalan referendum is “inevitable” and called for the EU to “take a position” and decide whether it “supports those who defend democracy or those who refuse to dialogue”. He made these statements during the first meeting of the friendship group on Catalonia created in the Irish Parliament, the fifth of its kind in Europe. “This proves that Catalonia’s current political situation awakens a huge interest abroad,” Romeva told the CNA and considered it “obvious and normal” that different parliaments across Europe “wish to ask questions and know more about what Catalonia is about to do and how it is going to do it”. “What is not normal is that the Spanish State refuses to talk about it,” he complained.

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25 May 2017 10:34 AM

by

ACN

Dublin (ACN).- Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, said the Catalan referendum is “inevitable” and called for the EU to “take a position” and decide whether it “supports those who defend democracy or those who refuse to dialogue”. He made these statements during the first meeting of the friendship group on Catalonia created in the Irish Parliament, the fifth of its kind in Europe. “This proves that Catalonia’s current political situation awakens a huge interest abroad,” Romeva told the CNA and considered it “obvious and normal” that different parliaments across Europe “wish to ask questions and know more about what Catalonia is about to do and how it is going to do it”. “What is not normal is that the Spanish State refuses to talk about it,” he complained.


The Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs insisted that the Catalan executive’s aim is to “come to an agreement with the Spanish Government on the referendum terms” but warned that if this is not possible because of the Spanish State’s intransigence, the vote “will take place anyway”, since “80% of the citizens want to decide their political future”. “It is a clear, massive, and peaceful demand,” he said.

Romeva also decried the Spanish State’s refusal to open a dialogue as well as its use of the courts to block the pro-independence demands. “Political challenges need political solutions, rather than using the courts,” he said noting the numerous bans from public office of Catalan representatives and decisions such as “suspending the legal framework for the Government to buy ballot boxes”. “This is not illegal; the Spanish Government is prosecuting intentions and doing so puts democracy and the separation of powers at risk,” he warned.

Thus, he called for the EU “to take a position” and decide whether it “supports those who defend democracy or those who refuse to dialogue”.

“Nobody should be afraid of debate”

The ‘'Oireachtas Friends of Catalonia' group gathers together MPs and senators from the main political parties in Ireland, that is, governing Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and independent representatives.

 “We are trying to build support within the Parliament around those Catalan issues that need to be raised, particularly around democracy, the right to have a vote, and the right to self-determination,” the group’s promoter and Sinn Féin’s MP, Trévor Ó Clochartagh told the CNA. He also explained that the group wants to “organize different events where people can explain what's happening in Catalonia and hopefully vote on different issues related to its political situation”.  

Ó Clochartagh also admitted that there are “different perspectives across the EU” regarding Catalonia’s political situation depending on the EU countries’ “domestic issues” and how supporting Catalonia’s independence can affect their own political status. “There is a lot of diplomatic work to do,” he said but hoped that Ireland could contribute “to opening the debate” with this initiative. “Nobody should be afraid of debate,” he added.

Groups on Catalonia in five European Parliaments

The Irish parliament’s initiative to create a group on Catalonia follows in the footsteps of four other similar projects. Last April, MPs from the Estonian Centre Party and the  Social Democratic Party created a parliamentary group to have a closer look at Catalonia’s political process and its pro-independence demands.

In July, a group of Swiss MPs from the main political parties in the Federal Assembly also created a friendship group with Catalonia.

In October, Romeva was invited to give a speech in the Finnish Parliament and officially present the friendship group with Catalonia created in the Chamber by Finnish MPs from seven different parties. “It proves that the neighboring countries want to have direct access to Catalan sources” and “get ready for what might happen in the upcoming months,” he told the CNA at the time.

More recently, MPs and Lords from all the parties in the British Parliament launched an APPG on Catalonia at Westminster Parliament. The group covers almost the entire political spectrum in the United Kingdom, from the Conservatives, to Labour, including Lib-dems, representatives from the Scottish National Party (SNP), the Welsh Plaid Cymru, the Irish Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and independent MPs.

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  • Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, addressing MPs and senators from the main political parties in the Irish Parliament (by ACN)

  • Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, addressing MPs and senators from the main political parties in the Irish Parliament (by ACN)