Ska Keller and Philippe Lamberts from the Greens will meet with Diana Riba and François Alfonsi from the European Free Alliance (EFA) tomorrow, to talk about the inclusion of newly recognized Catalan MEPs Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín into the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament.
EFA hosts MEPs from Catalan pro-independence ERC and is in favour of accepting Puigdemont and Comín, but among the Greens there are detractors and supporters. Influential journalist Jean Quatremer published an article in Libération yesterday entitled ‘L’indépendantisme catalan divise les Verts européens’ and explained that some French Greens favor the entry of Puigdemont and Comín and some Belgians, such as Lambert, are against it.
In fact, a member of the French Greens, Benoît Biteau, welcomed Comín and Puigdemont into the European Parliament a few days ago, and he will be visiting Catalonia’s political prisoners on Thursday, together with party colleague Michèle Rivasi. On the other hand is the Belgian Green Phillipe Lambert, who strongly opposes the entrance of Puigdemont and Comín, as shown in this tense VilaWeb interview:
Libération states that ‘Lambert’s attitude raises some concern among the Greens.’ And Alfonsi recalls that the Czech pirates entered the Group at mid-term without much trouble. Libération also quotes Lambert: ‘I do not want to import intracatalan disputes into the Group.’ And the newspaper adds: ‘This is a curious statement, because the Group has only one Catalan MEP, Ernest Urtasun, who is not in favor of independence though he believes a referendum should resolve the matter’.
According to Natàlia Segura from the Catalan News Agency, knowledgeable sources also admit mistrust among the German Greens, to which co-President Ska Keller belongs, and say that they come primarily from the top of the parliamentary group, where Ernest Urtasun is joined by MEPs from Sweden, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. If no agreement is reached during tomorrow’s meeting, a formal vote could be called for the entire parliamentary group. There are 68 Green and 8 EFA members in the Group. However, before forcing a vote, ERC would ask Puigdemont and Comín if they agree with it.
Negotiations for the possible inclusion of Puigdemont and Comin to the Greens/EFA Group arrive only weeks before the group loses eleven members because of the Brexit. With Puigdemont and Comín, the Greens could win two MEPs, and still another one with the arrival of Clara Ponsatí, who would win one of the Brexit seats.