The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, said in an interview with the CNA that the European Union will have to intervene in the Catalan conflict. ‘At some point, probably not now, the EU will have to stop looking the other way. It will need to recognise that there is a political problem that requires some decisions to be taken’ in Brussels, he stressed. Amid growing political tensions between Catalan and Spanish institutions over independence and threats of suspension or even prosecution against the Catalan Parliament President, Carme Forcadell, Puigdemont warned that political problems require ‘political solutions’.
According to the Catalan President, however, it is now ‘understandable’ for the EU to stay away from the Catalan issue and to describe it as an ‘internal matter’. ‘They do not want to create a conflict between member states’, he pointed out, adding that this will change in the future if someone formally asks the EU to intervene. ‘Then the EU will not be able to refrain from’ answering, he said.
The Catalan Parliament President, Carme Forcadell, could be suspended from office and even criminally charged for allowing a vote about the independence roadmap. Specifically, Parliament voted and passed the conclusions of the Committee to Study the Constitutive Process, a group responsible for designing Catalonia’s strategy towards independence. The conclusions report was ‘suspended’ in August by the Spanish Constitutional Court for violating the Spanish Constitution and actions could be now taken against Forcadell.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said to the CNA that prosecuting the President of the Catalan Parliament would be ‘outrageous’. ‘I hope they do not (criminally charge her) because we are talking about a political issue that needs to be solved politically, and only politically it will be solved’, he stressed. But warned: ‘They are capable of doing anything, because they have lost their grip on Catalonia’. Puigdemont said it would be a ‘huge mistake’ to criminally charge the President of a democratically-elected parliament for allowing a vote on the conclusions of a committee. ‘It would not look good abroad’, he stated. Puigdemont did not close the door to bringing the case to European courts if needed.
Spain’s political deadlock
Asked about the renewed political standstill in Spain after Mariano Rajoy lost a second confidence vote on Friday, Carles Puigdemont said the blame is on Spanish politicians. ‘If Spain is in a stalemate is because it has decided to be in a stalemate, not because Catalonia is not willing to help’, he said. The only solution, he added, is to find ‘political courage’ and allow a referendum in Catalonia. In that sense, he suggested that the Spanish Socialist party (PSOE) should try to form an alternative government with the support of Unidos Podemos and the Catalan and Basque nationalists.
Unidos Podemos had the referendum in its manifesto, but the PSOE is totally against it. But by allowing a vote on independence such a hypothetical alliance would get the support of most Catalan MPs. In this week ballots, 36 out of 47 Catalan MPs voted against the proposed PP-led government. Puigdemont admitted, however, to be sceptical about this option but said he will not lose hope.
‘If there is a PP government or new elections, we will move forward’ with the independence agenda, said Puigdemont. However, if a new Spanish governments puts a referendum on the table, the Catalan government will sit around the table and negotiate to ‘modulate’ its plans.
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