Tag Archives: Catalonia

Borrell’s undiplomatic offensive

European Commission has been confronted with questions of journalists over a Twitter micro blog embarrassing message, mounting up to “malfeasance in office” by its next EU top diplomat and incumbent Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, who posted a sensitive document from UK authorities on his feed.

The document, not meant for public release, related to a Spanish request for the arrest and extradition from Britain of a Catalan politician, Clara Ponsati, who is engaged as an academic at a Scottish university.

It contained a British query, made through an EU police cooperation database for the Schengen free movement area called SIRENE, asking for more information to support the Spanish warrant and revealed some of Ponsati’s personal data.

Borrell posted it to his Twitter account on Wednesday and later deleted it — but not before its was screengrabbed and triggered a complaint from a Catalan MEP, Diana Riber, who demanded Borrell be barred from taking up his job as the next EU High Representative for foreign affairs.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission told reporters Friday that “there are very clear rules in place regarding access to and use of the Schengen Information System… and we would expect that everyone shall respect the letter and spirit of these rules, notably any confidentiality requirements.”

The spokeswoman, Mina Andreeva, said it was a Spanish matter and should not affect Borrell’s future post in the Commission.

“This tweet was posted by Mr Borrell in his capacity as acting foreign minister. It is now for the national competent authorities to look into this matter,” she said, passing the buck to Madrid.

Claiming to be Catalan, Borrell, 72, is endorsed to become the EU’s top foreign policy official in the Ursula von der Leyen Commission.

That new team was scheduled to start working this month but has been delayed by at least a month because some of nominated commissioners failed to receive their consent. 

Spain’s European arrest warrant against Ponsati is part of Madrid’s crackdown on Catalan independence movement.

Puigdemont admitted to EU elections

A Madrid court ruled on  that former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who lives in a self-imposed exile in Belgium since 2017 to escape arrest for his prominent role in organising  the independence referendum, could run in the European Parliament election on May 26.

Spain’s electoral commission last month barred Puigdemont and two other fugitive Catalan politicians from standing, but they contested  the decision in court. Puigdemont and Toni Comin live in Belgium while Clara Ponsati lives in Scotland.

All three face imminent arrest in case they return to Spain as the referendum was ruled  not only illegal by the Constitutional Court. Nine Catalan leadersincluding Puigdemont’s former vice-president, Oriol Junqueras  are going through trial in Madrid on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

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.

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