As Ursula von der Leyen’s team was given the go-ahead by the European Parliament on Wednesday, 41 MEPs called on the newly-elected European Commission to get involved in the Catalan crisis. In a letter signed by members of 4 parliamentary groups, they call on the new EU cabinet to “act as a mediator or support an international mediation that would discourage unnecessary and excessive use of force and help both sides to find a political solution in Catalonia that respects the will of the people with the necessary changes in the Spanish legal team.”
The 41 MEPs also urge the Commission to “ensure that human and fundamental rights are protected in Spain in order not to give a precedent that can be used by non-democratic countries.” Their letter also recommends von der Leyen to “take note” on stances of international organizations such as the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention calling for the release of the jailed leaders. For the EU lawmakers backing the letter, Spain should “comply with international treaties.”
The text also criticizes that the EU is “silent” on this matter while it takes action in others within the Union, implicitly referring to Poland and Hungary. “This European internal affair should count on a solution led by Europe,” they say. “If Europe cannot defend human rights inside Europe, it will lose its entire ‘raison d’être’ and will have to cease lecturing other countries.”
Most of the MEPs addressing the Commission are members of the Greens/EFA group, such as Corsica’s François Alfonsi and The Netherlands’ Tineke Strik. Yet, Slovene Socialists Milan Brglez and Tanja Fajon also supported the letter, as well as ECR’s Geert Bourgeois and Johan Van Overtveldt (both members of Flemish pro-independence N-VA), and GUE/NGL’s Matt Carthy, from Ireland, among others.