Sunday

19th Nov 2017

Catalan MEPs ask for EU help against Spanish army

  • Barcelona - the MEPs' letter met with ridicule (Photo: vgm8383)

Four Catalan MEPs have asked the European Commission to tell Spain it cannot use military force to stop Catalonia from splitting away.

The deputies - centre-left MEP Maria Badia, Greens Ana Miranda and Raul Romeva i Rueda and Liberal Ramon Tremosa - wrote to EU justice commissioner Vivianne Reding on 22 October.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The letter says: "We are writing to you to convey our deep concern over a series of threats of the use of military force against the Catalan population ... In these circumstances, the European Union should intervene preventatively to guarantee that the resolution of the Catalan conflict be resolved in a peaceful, democratic manner."

It notes that politicians from the centre-right People's Party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have spoken of article 8 of Spain's constitution, which says the army can be used to protect Spanish sovereignty.

It adds the commission should: "Make a public statement insisting on the withdrawal from the public debate of any military threat or use of force as a way of resolving this political conflict."

The letter met with ridicule in Madrid.

Rosa Diez from the centrist Union, Progress and Democracy Party called it an "insult" to Spanish democracy.

Opposition Socialist Party leader Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said it "does not bear any relation to reality."

But for his part, Spanish centre-right MEP Alejo Vidal-Quadras told Spanish TV just two weeks ago: "They [the government] should be briefing a general of the Civil Guard ... the government should think of intervening in the rebellious region if they persist."

The Civil Guard, a gendarmerie, still has a bad name after it staged a failed coup in 1981.

The MEPs' appeal to Reding comes ahead of snap elections in Catalonia in November.

Local leader Artur Mas has said he will hold a referendum on secession in 2014 if he wins. In a sign of how it might go, 1 million Catalans last month called for independence in a rally in Barcelona.

Meanwhile, the Spanish debate is spilling over to the UK.

Spanish foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo y Marfil told parliament in Madrid on Tuesday that if Scotland - which is to hold a referendum on secession also in 2014 - gains independence it might get left out of the EU.

"In the hypothetical case of independence, Scotland would have to join the queue and ask to be admitted, needing the unanimous approval of all member states to obtain the status of a candidate country ... and to sign the final treaty," he said.

Scottish nationalist leader Alexander Salmond earlier this year told the BBC that Scottish law lords had confirmed it would get automatic EU entry.

But on Tuesday, his own deputy leader, Nicola Sturgeon, said he had merely filed an application for legal advice.

"It appears the first minister [Salmond] is a liar," Scottish centre-left opposition MP Paul Martin said.

Magazine

Catalan separatist looks to crisis with hope

It is often said that on the long and winding road to European union, it takes a crisis to move ahead. Now the same may be true for regional independence. "Independentism has become a cross-cutting movement."

Catalan region renews call for independence

One and a half million people gathered in Barcelona on Tuesday demanding independence from Spain. It was the biggest self-rule rally ever in Catalonia.

All eyes on Catalan election

Catalans will cast their vote for a new regional assembly on Sunday in an election that could have considerable consequences for Catalonia and the rest of Spain.

MEP switches vote on 'private expenses' transparency

A small group of MEPs are looking into how members of the European Parliament spend the monthly €4,300 'private expenses' funded by taxpayer money. Last month, MEPs voted on transparency amendments on the funds.

News in Brief

  1. Bonn climate talks extend into Friday evening
  2. UK needs to move on Brexit by early December, Tusk says
  3. Puigdemont extradition decision postponed to December
  4. Ireland wants written UK guarantees to avoid hard border
  5. US did not obstruct climate talks, says German minister
  6. EU signs social declaration
  7. Puigdemont to be heard by Belgian judges
  8. Steep fall in migrants reaching EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  2. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic countries prioritise fossil fuel subsidy reform
  4. Mission of China to the EUNew era for China brings new opportunities to all
  5. ACCASmall and Medium Sized Practices Must 'Offer the Whole Package'
  6. UNICEFAhead of the African Union - EU Summit, Survey Highlights Impact of Conflict on Education
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Calls for Closer Co-Operation on Foreign Policy
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTrilogue Negotiations - Striking the Balance Between Transparency and Efficiency
  9. Access EuropeProspects for US-EU Relations Under the Trump Administration - 28 November 2017
  10. World Vision20 November: Exchange of Views at the EP on Children Affected by the Syria Crisis
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable Growth the Nordic Way: Climate Solutions for a Sustainable Future
  12. EU2017EEHow Data Fuels Estonia's Economy

Latest News

  1. EU keeps former Soviet states at arm's length
  2. EU leaders make pledge on social issues after populist backlash
  3. EU agencies and eastern neighbours This WEEK
  4. Germany slams Dutch call for more ambitious EU climate goal
  5. Mind the gap: inequality in our cities
  6. Climate activists 'disappointed' with EU at climate talks
  7. Davis outlines UK vision on Brexit in Berlin
  8. German coalition talks in near collapse