Exiled Catalan president Carles Puigdemont presented a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) on Thursday to urge the European Commission to sanction Spain over its “lack of compliance with EU law.” The initiative was presented by two pro-independence organizations: ANC and the Council of the Republic.

“Now it is the time to show the power of citizens”, said Puigdemont. According to him, “this is not a proposal against Spain.”

ANC president Elisenda Paluzie said that Madrid should be sanctioned for its “scarce respect to the minorities’ rights” or the “politization” of the higher judiciary institutions.

One million signatures

The initiative’s goal is to force the Commission to consider its request, but in order to do so the petition needs to garner the support of one million signatures in one year with a minimum threshold in at least seven EU member states.

In this case, the states that would have to come up with supporters are Spain (with at least 40,000 signatures), France (50,000), Germany (72,000), Finland (19,000), Sweden (15,000), Slovenia(6,000) and Belgium (17,500).

The Union’s executive body will have to decide whether the petition drive can be launched in the first place as it must propose something within the EU’s powers and it cannot be against the European values.

If one million signatures are obtained then the Commission will consider it, but it is not obliged to accept it.