MEPs from all parties consider 9-N trial “counterproductive” and call for "political” solution

February 9, 2017 01:20 PM | ACN

The trial over the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014, which took before Barcelona’s High Court former Catalan President Artur Mas amongst other members of the Government has provoked reactions within and outside of Catalonia. MEPs from all parties have told the CNA that Catalonia and Spain should look for “a political” solution to their differences rather than resorting to the court. “Politicising the judiciary is always a wrong way”, stated ECR MEP Mark Demesmaeker, and lamented “the EU institutions’ silence” on this matter. “Europe can give good solutions”, EPP MEP Csaba Sógor pointed out and called for the 27 Member States to “be on the side of peace, dialogue and negotiation”. According to Ana Gomes, from the Socialists and Democrats, Spain’s response to Catalonia’s political aspirations “doesn't dissuade pro-independence supporters, it does rather the contrary”.

Tajani urged to keep his word and allow Catalan in the European Parliament

January 19, 2017 06:30 PM | ACN

Catalan MEPs asked the new president of the European Parliament, the European People’s Party’s Antonio Tajani, to maintain his promise and make it possible for them to speak Catalan in the plenary. During the electoral campaign for the chamber presidency, Tajani said that he would use all his power to allow Catalan to be used in parliament “as soon as possible” if he receives a petition “from the national authorities”. In a letter written in this language, the Italian added that he would put “no obstacles” to introducing Catalan. His Catalan promise came after the socialist candidate, Gianni Pittella, the ECR candidate, Helga Stevens, and the Greens/EFA candidate, Jean Lambert, also promised to allow the use of Catalan in the European Parliament.

Swiss MPs add to international outcry over Forcadell’s prosecution

December 16, 2016 06:05 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

The prosecution carried out by the Spanish justice system against Catalan Parliament President, Carme Forcadell for allegedly violating the law when allowing a debate on independence has aroused international concern. In Switzerland, a group of 15 Swiss MPs from the six parties represented in the Federal Chamber have called for their government to take a stance and express its “concern” over Forcadell’s trial. According to the MPs, which represent the six parties represented in the federal Parliament, the proceedings against Forcadell disturb “a country such as Switzerland, which is used to direct democracy”. Also this Friday, former Slovenian Minister for Foreign Affairs and MEP, Ivo Vajgl also admitted to being “worried” for the reputation of Spanish democracy and another Slovenian MEP, Igor Soltes, said that he considered Forcadell’s prosecution “scandalous”.

Catalan MEPs report Forcadell’s prosecution to European Parliament plenary session

December 13, 2016 02:29 PM | ACN

Left wing pro-independence ERC MEP, Josep Maria Terricabras and Catalan European Democratic Party PDeCAT MEP, Ramon Tremosa have urged the EU to respond to the prosecution of the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell. “Don’t let Spain undermine with all impunity our democratic and fundamental European rights”, stated Tremosa during Monday’s plenary session in the Euro chamber. The debate, held in Strasbourg, included the presence of EU Commissioner for Justice, Vera Jourová, whom Tremosa called on not to be “indifferent to the actions of the Spanish State against Catalan democratic politicians”. Forcadell will be summonsed on Friday by the Spanish authorities for allegedly breaking Spain’s Constitution when allowing the pro-independence roadmap to be put to vote in the Catalan Chamber, last July. Forcadell could potentially be debarred from office and face a fine. 

Catalan MEPs report “democratic regression in Spain” and explain judicialisation of politics to the European Parliament

November 24, 2016 02:28 PM | ACN

Spain’s use of the courts to block the pro-independence roadmap has been reported to the 751 members of the European Parliament by three Catalan MEPs. Josep Maria Terricabras and Ernest Maragall, from left wing pro-independence party (ERC), and Ramon Tremosa, representing the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT) have sent a letter to their colleagues in the Eurochamber lamenting what they describe as “democratic regression in Spain”. The letter criticised the summonsing of Catalan elected representatives, such as Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, for “allowing a parliamentary debate on independence”. It also laments that former Catalan MP and current PDeCat spokesman in the Spanish Parliament, Frances Homs, faces trial for co-organising the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014. 

European Parliament calls on Spanish Government to review voting system for residents abroad

November 11, 2016 02:56 PM | ACN

The Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament requested the Spanish Government to review the voting system for residents abroad. It considers the current system to imply “difficulties” and believes that it “can be improved”. The vice-president of the committee, the Conservative People’s Party MEP from the Balearic Islands Rosa Estaràs, announced that the complaint of two young Spanish people that had difficulty voting in the general elections of 2011 and in the European elections of 2014 will continue to be investigated, while awaiting explanations from the Spanish Government. In addition, the European Parliament will send a letter to the Spanish Parliament and are confident that the case will be tackled by the Foreign Affairs Committee and the European Commission.


Overturning of bullfighting ban in Catalonia outrages 37 MEPs from different parties and countries

October 27, 2016 07:41 PM | ACN

The possibility that bullfighting could return to Catalonia by imposition of the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) has outraged 37 MEPs from five different parties. The signatories of a joint declaration, promoted by Catalan Eco-Socialist ICV MEP, Ernest Urtasun, point out that “animal torture can’t be considered as a cultural expression” and describe bullfighting as “an unfair activity, which is sadistic and despicable”. The initiative is supported by MEPs from Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Holland, Austria and the Catalan MEPs Josep Maria Terricabras (ERC), Ernest Maragall (ERC), Ramon Tremosa (PDC), Javi López (PSC) and Francesc Gambús (Independent). On the 20th of October, the TC annulled the prohibition to host bullfighting in Catalonia after considering that the Parliament “exceeded its competences” and “restricted the citizens’ rights and freedoms” when banning bullfighting in 2010.

Latvian MEPs criticise Spanish Government expulsion of Counsellor

October 24, 2016 03:12 PM | ACN

Latvian MEPs from different parties have criticised the Spanish Government’s withdrawal of accreditation from the Honorary Counsellor of Latvia, Xavier Vinyals. “It's not serious (accusing Vinyals of having displayed a pro-independence flag)", "it is a very funny reason to expel a counsellor", remarked the Social Democrat Andrejs Mamikins to the Catalan News Agency. The Conservative Roberts Zile also criticised the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, José-Manuel García Margallo, for his "wrong attitude, clearly inadequate for the democratic standards of the 21st century". "It's a horrible decision", lamented the Green Tatjana Ždanoka. The Latvian Government and Latvian MEPs from the European People’s Party (PPE) refused to comment on the decision of Margallo.


European Parliament urges Spain to stop Ebro basin plan after MEP assessment on the ground

July 13, 2016 08:00 PM | ACN

The European Parliament (EP) approved this Wednesday the assessment presented by a delegation of MEPs who visited the Ebro Delta on the 8th of February. In their report, the MEPs focused on the “lack of ecological flow” and questioned whether Spain’s Ebro Water Plan (PHE) was in compliance with community law. Catalan MEPs and the Platform for the Defence of the Ebro Delta (PDE) celebrated the decision but urged the European Commission to act “quickly, clearly and firmly” and stop the plan projected by the Spanish Government. Even so, PDE’s spokesperson Manolo Tomás and Susana Abella considered the EP’s decision to be “an important step toward modifying Spain’s Water Plan” and “recognition” of the social demonstrations of the last years.

MEPs ask EC about Russian use of Ceuta’s port during Ukrainian conflict

March 21, 2016 07:12 PM | ACN

11 MEPs from different parties, amongst them Catalan liberal party CDC MEP Ramon Tremosa, have sent a parliamentary question to the EC’s vice president, Federica Mogherini, regarding the repeated use of the Spanish port of Ceuta by Russian military ships. According to Ceuta’s local press, this port, located in North Africa, was used by Russia’s fleet at least 57 times between 2011 and 2015 along the ships’ route towards the Black Sea. The fleet included frigates, destroyers and attack submarines. The use of this port by Russian ships coincided with the European fines against Moscow due to its participation through third parties in the civil conflict in Ukraine. Thus, MEPs have asked Mogherini to clarify whether this support from the Spanish authorities contravened ­­­­the European fines and why.

MEPs visit the Ebro Delta to check whether Spain’s National Water Plan infringes European regulations

February 8, 2016 07:55 PM | ACN

Six MEPs from the Committee on Petitions visited the Ebro Delta, in Catalonia’s southern region of Tarragona, to meet the several petitioners who have claimed that Spain’s new National Water Plan (NWP) may infringe the EU Water Framework Directive. Environmentalists say one of Europe's most important wetland areas is under threat as Spain’s new Plan aims to reduce the river’s flow to 3,000 cubic hectometres per year and add 465,000 new hectares of irrigated lands to an already existing one million hectares, which will also contribute to cutting the sediment level dramatically. Besides the risk to the delta’s survival, the Platform for the Defence of the Ebro Delta (PDE) are worried that ultimately these waters could be transferred to other, drier regions of Spain. The visit of the EU delegation comes after 50,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Amposta in Catalonia on Sunday to protest against the plans.

MEPs call for the EU’s support to end Francoism impunity in Spain

November 25, 2015 06:35 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

MEPs from eight different parties asked the European Commission to urge Spain to investigate and judge the crimes committed during Franco’s dictatorship. “Justice doesn’t expire. We don’t aim for vengeance but reparation”stated Catalan left-wing ERC-NeCAT MEP Ernest Maragall on Tuesday at a joint press conference in Strasbourg. Maragall was joined by Catalan MEPs from ERC-NeCAT, liberal party CDC, left-wing ICV and christian democrat UDC, as well as MEPs from Basque nationalist PNB and Bildu and alternative left-wing Spanish parties Compromís and Podemos. They wrote a joint declaration which stated that “the principle of universal justice makes impossible the impunity of the crimes”committed during Francoism and “forces the State to judge those who were responsible”. “This is not about opening wounds but to close them”stated PodemosMEP Miguel Urbán.

Call for the European Parliament to withdraw the European Citizen 2014 award from 'Societat Civil Catalana'

October 30, 2015 06:22 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

Many MEPs and different entities urged the European Parliament to withdraw the European Citizen 2014 award from 'Societat Civil Catalana', a Spanish unity association which has been repeatedly linked with extreme right organisations. Recent investigations also connected SCC's president, Josep Ramon Bosch, with Francoist Fascism and Nazism and Bosch himself has been called to Court accused of threatening pro-independence Catalan figures via a fake Facebook profile. The associations, organisations and public figures signing the 'Manifesto: Catalan civil society, for dignity' accuse SCC of "appropriating themselves of the common term ['Societat Civil Catalana'] which refers to the host of civic, cultural and social entities in Catalonia characterised not only by their diversity but also by their defence of democratic principles, Catalan culture and society as a whole".

Schulz takes the scandal of the two versions of the Commission's answer "very seriously"

October 30, 2015 06:00 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

The European Parliament's President, Martin Schulz "shares" the Catalan MEPs’ concerns "about the accuracy of the answers to written questions". Schulz was referring to the two different versions, one in Spanish and one in English, of the answer sent by the Commission to PP MEP Santiago Fisas on Catalonia's unilateral declaration of independence. "I can assure you that I take this issue very seriously" he stated in a letter sent to the Catalan MEPs on Friday. Schulz assured that he is "fully aware of the sensitivity of this particular issue, especially in the period before the regional elections in Catalonia on 27 September". The Euro Parliament President also assured that the "Parliament's services asked the Commission's competent services to clarify the situation as a matter of urgency" and added that he welcomes the decision to investigate the scandal. "I look forward to being informed of its conclusions" he concluded. 

European Ombudsman: EC's statements on Catalonia's independence are "a personal view"

October 19, 2015 02:33 PM | ACN

The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, warned that "any declaration made by members of the EU institutions" regarding Catalonia's independence "would be reflecting their personal view and not the official position of the institution". By stating this, O'Reilly answered a letter sent by Catalan MEPs from liberal CDC, left wing pro-independence ERC-NeCat, Christian Democrat UDC and Eco-Socialist ICV. In the letter, they expressed their concerns about the double version of EC president Jean-Claude Juncker's answer on Catalonia and the problems that many Catalans abroad faced to vote. O'Reilly admitted to being "up to date" on the double answer scandal but asked the MEPs to contact the EC first. Regarding the problems with the vote abroad, O'Reilly considered them a "national matter" and refused the meeting request "for the moment".