Statement on today's events in Catalonia - 1 October 2017

Author: Roger Casale






Today's events in Catalonia call into question the idea of a Europe of the Citizens and the European Union as a space in which the human rights of #EU citizens are guaranteed.

For the avoidance of doubt, when it comes to the issue of Catalonian independence or the legitimacy of the referendum, I  don't have a "dog in the fight".

I do have a stake in the future of Europe, and I want that future to be about building a Europe for citizens.

Repression and police brutality have no place in any society let alone in modern Europe.

That is why we asked Gary Paterson to go to Catalonia and to monitor events there for New Europeans.

We have been gathering evidence about the conduct of the referendum and the Spanish authorities response all day and sharing this evidence on social media.

When Gary returns we will write up our report on the events we have witnessed first hand to present to the European Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament in Brussels as well as to the Spanish Permanent Representation there on behalf of our members.

We have also spent today and yesterday trying to elicit a response or at least a comment from the European institutions.

These three words tweeted this morning would have been a good start:

"Repugnant and unjustifiable"

JK Rowling

We have witnessed scenes of indiscriminate police brutality against the population.

What do we mean by indiscriminate? Well it has been directed at pensioners, against firefighters, against men as well as women.

There is no way that a Europe of Citizens or Europe as a space that guarantees human rights can have any meaning or resonance if states are allowed to assault their own citizens in this way without reproach and without consequence.

Along with academics, politicians, intellectuals and civil society activists around the world, we continue to call for an end to the violence, a de-escalation of the conflict and a return to dialogue to resolve these issues in a peaceful way.

We contacted Guy Verhofstadt ALDE Group leader and former Belgian Prime Minister.

He has since issued this statement for which we thank him.

"I don't want to interfere in the domestic issues of Spain but I absolutely condemn what happened today in Catalonia.

On one hand, the separatist parties went forward with a so-called referendum that was forbidden by the Constitutional Court, knowing all too well that only a minority would participate as 60 % of the Catalans are against separation.

And on the other hand - even when based on court decisions - the use of disproportionate violence to stop this.

In the European Union we try to find solutions through political dialogue and with respect for the constitutional order as enshrined in the Treaties, especially in art. 4.

It's high time for de-escalation. Only a negotiated solution in which all political parties, including the opposition in the Catalan Parliament, are involved and with respect for the Constitutional and legal order of the country, is the way forward."

 


Roger Casale

About the Author

Roger Casale

Roger set up New Europeans and runs the initiative on a day-to-day basis.

He has experience in business, academia and politics both in the UK and internationally. He studied at Brasenose College Oxford and at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs. He speaks Italian, German, French and a little Arabic. 

In 2009, he received the award of Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana from the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano for services to British-Italian relations. He is a former Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Foreign Office.

 

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Roger Casale

About the Author

Roger Casale

Roger set up New Europeans and runs the initiative on a day-to-day basis.

He has experience in business, academia and politics both in the UK and internationally. He studied at Brasenose College Oxford and at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs. He speaks Italian, German, French and a little Arabic. 

In 2009, he received the award of Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana from the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano for services to British-Italian relations. He is a former Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Foreign Office.

 

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