The joint conference of Catalan president Quim Torra and his predecessor now in exile Carles Puigdemont will be held today in Brussels, in a place still to be determined. The European Parliament canceled the conference last week, citing “security threats.” The conference was due to take place in a room of the chamber, but the parliament decided to cancel it saying there was a high risk that the event “could pose a threat to the maintenance of public order on the parliament’s premises.”
However, Heidi Hautala, vice-president of the European Parliament, suggested that the reasons were of a dfferent kind:
I have to specify that most likely the political pressure to cancel the event came from Spanish EPP, S&D and ALDE delegations which indeed took it as provocation.
— Heidi Hautala (@HeidiHautala) February 16, 2019
Spain’s three largest parties opposing Catalan independence had sent a letter to the parliament president, Antonio Tajani, urging him to prohibit the event on the grounds that Puigdemont planned to “overthrow Spain’s constitutional order. “Allowing Puigdemont’s presence is not compatible with the noble role of the European Parliament as an example of democracy and rule of law in force in the EU” said MEPs from the Socialist, People’s, and Ciutadans parties.
The topic of the conference was the trial against the independence bid and was organized by the EU-Catalonia dialogue platform’s spokesperson, Ivo Vajgl, and the Flemish N-VA party.
The conference is entitled “Catalonia and the trial on the referendum: a challenge for the EU” and will take place at 18.30. Before, Quim Torra will be received by the president of Flanders, Geert Bourgeois, at the headquarters of the Flemish government. Torra and Puigdemont will visit the Parliament of Flanders, where they will meet with the president of the chamber, Jan Peumans.