Matt Carthy, an Irish member of the European Parliament, has called on the chamber president Antonio Tajani to make a statement on the incarceration of Catalan pro-independence leaders following a hunger strike by some of them.

“You will be aware that 4 of the 9 Catalan political prisoners have embarked on a hunger strike” said Carthy at the EP plenary session on Monday. “Considering that two of these political prisoners are former members of this House and that their crimes amount to allowing people to vote to determine their own future, can I ask you, Mr President, when you intend to make a statement on this matter.”

A chair of Ireland’s Sinn Féin party, Carthy is a member of the European United Left-Nordic Green Left (EUL-NGL).

As Tajani did not comment on Carthy’s petition, he said that “the silence of the EU leaders makes these institutions complicit in the Spanish government disregard for international norms referring to democracy and human rights.”

Portuguese MEP also slams at EU silence

Meanwhile, Portuguese MEP António Marinho e Pinto also criticized the EU “silence” on the Catalan situation in a letter sent to all his colleagues in the European Parliament. “I wish to express my deep concern at everything that is happening in Spain and also with the silence of the European institutions, mainly the European Parliament, which thus becomes accomplice by omission, in human rights breaches and offenses to the principles of the democratic rule of law state committed by the Spanish higher courts in relation to the pro-independence political leaders of Catalonia” the Portuguese MEP said.

According to him, “this silence politically weakens the European institutions, since it withdraws any moral legitimacy from them to condemn similar violations in other countries.” The Portuguese MEP said that “all fundamental rights of the human being’s violations, must always be fiercely condemned, regardless of the country in which they occur and regardless of whoever carried them.”

The EU institutions have always refused to engage in the political conflict between Catalonia and Spain, that they see as an “internal issue” of a member state. However, some EU leaders and even the European Commission have urged for dialogue. Some 40 MEPs have created a platform to ask the EU to mediate between Madrid and Barcelona.