26 October 2012
Catalan MEPs call for EU intervention over ‘threats of force’ by Madrid
The letter to the EU urges Brussels ‘to make a public statement insisting on the withdrawal from the public debate of any military threat or use of force as a way of resolving this political conflict’
MOUNTING FEARS in Catalonia have prompted four of the region’s MEPs to write to the European Justice Minister about threats by Spanish unionists to use military force against the economically powerful autonomous region.
Meanwhile, Catalan police officers were instructed by Catalonia’s Minister of the Interior last week that, in the event of a conflict with Madrid, they are to only take orders from the Catalan Parliament.
Writing to European Justice Minister Viviane Reding on Wednesday, four Catalan MEPs said:
“We are writing to you to convey our deep concern over a series of threats of the use of military force against the Catalan population.”
The letter came following veiled threats by the Spanish Military Association of retired army officers in September. They warned that anybody supporting “Spain's fracture” could be court martialled.
Since then, other military officers and political leaders have voice support for such a stance, claiming that the armed forces have a constitutional duty to guarantee the territorial integrity of Spain.
The MEPs said these threats limit Spanish and Catalan democracy:
“In these circumstances, the European Union should intervene preventatively to guarantee that the resolution of the Catalan conflict be resolved in a peaceful, democratic manner.”
The letter – signed by Raul Romeva i Rueda and Ana Miranda of the Green Party, Ramon Tremosa of Convergence and Union (CiU) and Maria Badia of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) – urged Brussels “to make a public statement insisting on the withdrawal from the public debate of any military threat or use of force as a way of resolving this political conflict”.
Following its submission, PSOE European Deputy Leader Badia handed in a letter of resignation to the party but kept her seat.
In September, 1.5million people turned out in the Catalan capital of Barcelona in support of independence. As a result of the massive show of support for a break with Spain, regional elections were called.
The election is to be held on 25 November and nationalist parties are expected to poll well.
The most recent opinion poll (on 1 October by the GESOP polling company) shows the Catalan nationalist parties of Convergence and Union, Republican Left of Catalonia and Initiative for Catalonia Greens standing at 41%, 11.3% and 7.7% respectively.
The pro-Madrid parties of the Spanish Socialist Party, Spanish People’s Party and the Citizens’ Party polled 14.5%, 9.9% and 5%.
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