22 Sep, 2017 @ 11:08
2 mins read

DO SOMETHING: Catalan leader calls on EU to act against Spain’s ‘violation of basic rights’ in independence referendum row

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NO RETURN: Unless the government guarantees safe conduct
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont

CATALAN president Carles Puigdemont has called on the EU to act against Spain’s ‘violation’ of the region’s ‘basic rights’.

The leader said it was the European Commission’s duty to intervene, but the bloc has stood by Madrid, citing the referendum as a ‘domestic issue’.

It comes after tensions came to a head following the raiding of homes, offices and government buildings during a crackdown by Madrid designed to squash the vote.

Police arrested 14 high-profile Government officials as the national Government searched for evidence in relation to the planned October 1 referendum on Catalan independence, which has been declared illegal by Spain’s Constitutional Court.

Mr Puigdemont said: “European values, civil rights, freedom of speech, freedom of information and freedom of assembly are being violated by Spain’s central Government.

“It’s a situation that harks back to the dark past of this country, when democracy was not a part of the Spanish dictionary. What is happening here in Catalonia would not happen anywhere else in the European Union.

“Instead of engaging in discourse, the Spanish Government has opted for police and judges, taking us beyond the limits of a respectable democracy.

Spanish PM Rajoy

“The EU itself is built on these values and is committed to guaranteeing the rights proclaimed in the charter and in the EU treaties.

“As an EU member state, Spain should respect that. If not, it is the European commission’s duty to intervene.”

But the EU has remained cautious and reluctant to upset one of its key members.

European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said last week: “We are attached to the respect of the Spanish constitution, as of all member states’ constitutions”.

While an EU executive spokesman said ‘all questions can be addressed within the conditional order’.

A source told the EU observer: “If that is not a taboo, it looks like it very much.

“All member states are embarrassed – we don’t want to get involved.”


An independence rally in Catalonia

Puigdemont wrote for The Guardian: “The rule of law is accepted across Europe as the guarantee of our rights, but the Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy, is twisting our law to suit his own political ends in blocking the referendum.

“No longer will we compromise on our desire for a referendum. We won’t give up on it.”

He added: “We call on the international community to stand with Catalonia in its defence of democracy and true European values. In the meantime, our citizens must be ready to defend democracy and self-rule in the coming days with the only weapons we have: ballot boxes and a peaceful attitude.

“All we want is to carry out the greatest expression of a free democracy, and vote on Catalonia’s future. This is not about independence, it is about fundamental civil rights, and the universal right of self-determination.”

Laurence Dollimore

Laurence has a BA and MA in International Relations and a Gold Standard diploma in Multi-Media journalism from News Associates in London. He has almost a decade of experience and previously worked as a senior reporter for the Mail Online in London.

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  1. Spain and all of S. America is infected with this totalist concept of governance in which the ‘to win’ means the winners’ party takes all. EU bankers and functionaries want a rigid central authority that never approves of democratic movements. Anything goes to keep the so-called ‘union.’

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