The European Union has a role to play in resolving the current stalemate in Catalonia, according to some of the MEPs that attended on Tuesday the Catalan President’s talk in the European Parliament. “This is a European issue, I have no doubt about that. Maybe some people are in denial”, said Social Democrat MEP from Portugal Ana Gomes. “I hope that we will not be in denial, that we will help the Catalans settle this matter with the Spaniards in a democratic way”, she added. The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, urged Europe to “not look the other way” and be “part of the solution” to the Catalan question during his speech in Brussels.
“I believe that we have a duty to live up to our democratic and European principles”, stated Gomes in comments to the CNA. This Portuguese MEP argued that considering the current stalemate between Catalonia and Spain, Europe should be “the ones to find a democratic solution”. “And it can be found in a very peaceful and non-confrontational way”, she pointed out.
Another of the MEPs that attended the talk, Sinn Féin deputy Matt Carthy, said that “more and more people are recognising across Europe and right across the world” that the Catalans’ demand is “reasonable”. The referendum, he said, “should be acceded to by the Spanish state”. If not, he warned, the EU should intervene. “There is a role for the EU to intervene and tell a European member state that it cannot deny the right of an historic nation to decide its own future”, Carthy stressed.
According to Renate Weber, a Liberal MEP from Romania and former ad hoc judge in Strasbourg, the issue should be solved through a democratic dialogue because, otherwise, “the international role will play a role”. “In any country, if there is no political will to reunite or split, then of course the international role and the interpretation of international law is very important”, she said. Weber, who spoke in Romanian with Carles Puigdemont after the event, admitted to having been “impressed” by the talk, especially because it attracted a lot of people.
“I had never seen, in 7 or 8 years, this room so full of people, including a pretty good number of members of parliament”, she stressed. Weber urged politicians in Catalonia and Spain to “talk, to come together” and try to “understand the reasons of this expression for independence”. The Liberal MEP admitted that there had been some attempts to stop people attending the meeting, as some “fear that by being present they legitimise what is to happen”. “It is not entirely correct”, she pointed out, saying that it is “normal” to try to get information about important events. “Communication is crucial”, she stressed.
Like Weber, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, Ivo Vajgl, now a Liberal MEP, was not dissuaded from attending the talk. “I decide on my own in which events to participate and which not. I am supporting democratic dialogue”, he said. In fact, the former diplomat praised the event: “I think it was an excellent idea to come here, to Brussels, to try to spread the message and to express why Catalan politicians want to have a democratic and open dialogue with both the Spanish authorities and the EU”, he said.
From Latvia, MEP Tatjana Zdanoka said that “just the attention attracted by this event is a very good sign”. “Even negative reaction was a reaction, which is better than silence. Silence is the worst thing existing in politics”, she pointed out. According to Zdanoka, if the EU wants to “preserve” it needs to be “just” and the principle of self-determination needs to be respected. “Any nation has the right to self-determination, you cannot be selective”, she warned.
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