Tag Archives: Catalonia

Catalans call for flexible political maneuver

Four Catalan leaders on trial in Madrid over a 2017 referendum their said the independence parties should be more flexible about entering negotiations on forming the next Spanish government after a April 28 national election.

The Catalan leaders’ published an open letter in weekend’s edition of La Vanguardia newspaper, suggesting the independence parties should enter talks with potential coalition partners as long as they refused to rule out an independence referendum as a “possible solution” for the region.

Vox castigates Catalonia independence aspirations

Anna van Densky from Brussels. Spain’s VOX  far-right party members came to European Parliament to condemn the aspirations of Catalans for independence. Although the congregation was impressive in numbers of attendees, there were no new elements introduced during presentations, while speakers defended the same point reflected in the name of the event – “Catalonia, a Spanish region”. Needless to add the happening was outdated in form, consisting of a series of monologues, developing the same point of view: Catalans can not aspire independence, because such a development is not foreseen in the Constitution of Kingdom of Spain. Subsequently the presentation was bias, completely ignoring counter-arguments, and omitting contemporary international law, namely right of self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter.

Javier Ortega Smith, the Secretary-General of  VOX insisted the fragmentation of nation states threatens the European Union (EU) future, attempting to construct a confrontational concept between Catalan independence as threat for the EU.

Jesus Lainzthe author of “Spain against Catalonia, a fraud history’ acted as a major ideologist, explaining at length the history binding Barcelona and Madrid, focusing mainly on the Middle Ages, and carefully avoiding modern times, in particular the second part of the XX century, when the number of sovereign states in the world has tripped, amounting to 193  members of the United Nations. 

However in spite of evident deficiencies the conference as such is a milestone for the Catalonia issue. Enrique Calvet Chambon MEP (ALDE, Spain)  admitted that there is a “parallel reality” existing in Catalonia already, and that the status quo is damaging to image of Spain, creating “animosity” across Europe. Both factors meaning that there is an understanding, although limited, that the tactic of suppression of the Catalan independence movement provoked further deterioration of the situation to detriment of Madrid.

The event was animated by a flash-mob by the employees of the European Parliament, protesting against VOX position towards feminists, and LGBT community.

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VOX party (2013) has been a staunch opponent of the federalism, promoting centralized state. Along with condemnation of the Catalan independence movement, the party is also against Basque autonomy.

The even was hosted by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Kosma ZŁOTOWSKI (Poland, ECR).

The event caused indignation of the European Greens, regretting the admission of VOX to speak in the European Parliament: MEP Ana Miranda, characterized it as “disgrace” to the Chamber. She added the Green group attempted to prevent the VOX to take a floor, because it is “xenophobic, racist, homophobic political party that is spreading hatred”.

 

 

 

 

Europarl: Puigdemont attends Catalan expo

Today the former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont as a guest of honor attended a photo exhibition The Catalan Language: 10 million European Voices”taking place in central location of the European Parliament –  Atrium of Altiero Spinelli building. 

The event was inaugurated by Ramon Tremosa (MEP, ALDE).

“The Catalan language, 10 million European voices” was organised in co-operation between Plataforma per la Llengua (Platform for the Language) and MEP Ramon Tremosa (PDeCAT).

Although crowded, the event was not overwhelmed by visitors, as it usually happens when Carles Puigdemont is present, because the information passed that the vernissage was ‘suspended‘. The relevant announcement appeared on the Catalan site ‘El Nacional‘:

Another veto from the European Parliament towards another Catalan event. This time, the chamber has suspended an exhibition on the Catalan language planned for 4th March, saying it is “no longer appropriate” given the snap Spanish general election at the end of April. The exhibition was scheduled for two days before an event with far-right party Vox which is currently still happening”

Apparently the ban was lifted, and the exhibition on Catalan language will be available to the visitors of the European Parliament this week. However for many it is regrettable to fail to attend the event with Carles Puigdemont, who is held in high esteem by general public in Belgium, and by Brussels international press corps, always eager to interview the Catalan high-profile politician in exile.

Puigdemont complains to EU ombudsman

Former President of Catalan government, and acting politician in exile, Carles Puigdemont presents a formal complaint to the EU ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, against the decision of the European Parliament (EP) president Antonio Tajani to ban his joint conference with the Quim Torra, the incumbent  President of the Government of Catalonia. The decision to ban the Catalan event in the EP was motivated by the “security” reasons, explained in a letter to the conference organizers. In the written complaint the decision of Tajani is described as “unprecedented“.

Catalan trial aggravates crisis

Spain riot police clashed with pro-independence Catalan protesters in Barcelona on while some activists burned tires and blocked highways across northeast of the country as part of a day of protests against the trial of 12 politicians.

A total of 28 people, including twelve police officers, were wounded and four people were arrested, police informed.

In spite of the rising tensions in Barcelona  the European Commissioner on Human Rights Frans Timmermans prefers to keep silence, insisting the trail is the issue for Spanish justice.

Tajani bans Catalan event in Europarliament

The European Parliament President Antonio Tajani has canceled a conference (18.02.2019) with participation of the Catalan president, Quim Torra, and his predecessor Carles Puigdemont, citing “security threats.”

The conference was due to take place in in Brussels on February 18, but the parliament decided to cancel it saying there was a “high risk” that the event “could pose a threat to the maintenance of public order on the parliament’s premises.

The chamber detailed its decision in a press release: “The assessment takes into account several elements, including the recent occupation by the protesters of the European Parliament and Commission buildings in Barcelona, the tensions linked to the trial against Catalan pro-independence leaders that started on February 12, the lack of information on the participants at the event and, especially, the possibility of incidents within or around the Parliament premises.

Apparently the ban came as a result of relentless efforts of Spain‘s three largest parties opposing Catalan independence to bloc the debate. They had sent a letter to the Speaker Antonio Tajani, urging him to prohibit the event on the grounds that Puigdemont planned to “overthrow Spain’s constitutional order.

Allowing Puigdemont’s presence is not compatible with the noble role of the European Parliament as an example of democracy and rule of law in force in the EU,” said MEPs from the Socialist, People’s, and Ciutadans parties.

However the ban to host a conference in the European Parliament premises is not conducive to the resolution of the Catalan issue, seen by many Catalans as an act of an ultimate betrayal of their fundamental freedoms by the EU.

Gomes MEP on “political prisoners” in Spain

Ana GOMES MEP (Portugal, S&D) raises concerns about the policy of Pedro Sanchez government, dealing with the Catalan independence issue as if it is a legal problem, instead of acknowledging its political nature. Gomes promotes dialogue between Madrid and Barcelona, breaking the deadlock through talks. She is also concerned about the methods of repressing of Catalan politicians, reminiscent of times of General Franco regime. “Yes, I have to acknowledge it, there are political prisoners in Spain“, Gomessaid. She criticises the position of the Human rights Commissioner Frans Timmermans, who prefers to ignore the existence of political prisoners in SpainGomes questions the freedom of press in Spain, and inquires if there is a practice of self-censorship among mass media journalists in covering Catalan issue. Among the prisoners is the former colleague of Ana Gomes – MEP Raül Romeva i Rueda appointed later the Minister for External and Institutional Relations of Catalonia.

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