2 October 2017
Co-chairs Reinhard Bütikofer and Monica Frassoni comment on the crisis surrounding Catalonia’s independence referendum:
“October 1st 2017 will be remembered as a very dark day in Spanish history.
“In order to suppress an unconstitutional independence referendum in Catalonia, the Spanish authorities resorted to completely unacceptable means. The police violence against would-be-voters was not only obviously disproportionate, it also demonstrated a shameful decision by the Spanish government to use force where it should have opted for an attempt to find a political solution.
“Since the closing of the polls, both the Spanish and the Catalan government have only reiterated their positions, but shown no willingness to de-escalate the situation. If this dialogue of the deaf continues, the situation in Catalonia can only worsen. This is why European Greens call upon both sides in the Spanish conflict to step back from the brink and start looking for political ways out from a catastrophic situation. We do not support unilateral action from either side. None of the sides should take any steps that could worsen the situation.
“Some European leaders have already spoken out in criticism of police violence and in favour of a political solution. We do not only share that. We also call upon other European leaders, in particular governments from EU Member States, to join the chorus of those that are opposing violence, unilateralism and escalation. We also call upon the European People's Party, of which Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is a member, to intervene with him and to advocate that he change his course.
“We expect the European Parliament to debate the situation in Catalonia this week and to express a clear rejection of violence and a clear support for a negotiated solution to the conflict. Dialogue, not repression, must be the agenda.
“The EU was built on the basis of the rejection of nationalism, the respect for the rule of law and the right of the people to democratically express their political will. Now, as these principles seem to be at risk in Spain, the EU should do everything it can to clearly signal that it expects all its members to stay true to these ideals.”