The Catalan government has suggested that the European Union will not survive if it allows Spain to impose direct rule.
Regional president Carles Puigdemont declared independence from Spain following a referendum which the Spanish National Police and paramilitary Civil Guard (Gaurdia Civil) attempted to violently suppress — although he suspended the effects of the declaration in hopes of pursuing a dialogue with Madrid.
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s has been uncompromising in his response, however, moving to impose direct rule by dismissing the Catalan government and dissolving the Catalan parliament — with the question of whether or not so-called independentists will be allowed to stand in fresh elections remaining open.
The country now stands on a knife-edge, with Puigdemont calling Spain’s actions the “worst attack against the institutions and the people of Catalonia since the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco” and vowing regional authorities will not co-operate — and his government taking aim at the European Union.
“How can the European Union live with that situation? How can EU democracy survive? And how can they be credible if they allow this to happen?” demanded foreign affairs spokesman Raul Romeva in an interview with BBC Radio 4 on October 23rd.
“[W]e cannot simply keep blind and deaf to that. It is an [attack] on democracy. We are defending in Catalonia the principles, the values, that we supposedly are defending in the European Union,” he declared.
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) October 23, 2017
Romevo lamented the fact that “Today we have in the European Union political prisoners, people that have been defending the peace, people that have been defending dialogue.”
He promised that Rajoy’s efforts to take over the region would be resisted, warning that “the people and the institutions will not let this happen,” and that he had “no doubt” that the region’s civil service and local police force — the Mossos — would continue to “follow the instructions given by the democratically elected responsible [authorities]”.
Madrid is already attempting to charge Mossos chief Josep Lluis Trapero with sedition, installing a Civil Guard colonel as “technical director” of the force in his stead.
Dear @JunckerEU :
Article 7 of the European Union Treaty
"Suspension of any Member State that uses military force on its own population."
Please share.#SpainOutOfEU#ShameOnSpain#CatalanReferendum pic.twitter.com/WUfBoAf75N
— Liz Castro (@lizcastro) October 1, 2017
Up until now, the EU has tried to turn a blind eye to what is happening in Catalonia, backing the Spanish authorities when pressed.
European Commission First Vice-president Frans Timmermans appeared to endorse the violence against voters and would-be voters in the referendum as “proportionate use of force” in an address to the European Parliament.
The European Parliament’s own Vice-president, Ramón Luis Valcárcel, even accused the Catalans of staging a “nationalistic coup against Europe” by holding the referendum in the first place.
“Everybody knows [what] is happening,” remarked the Catalan foreign affairs spokesman to the BBC.
“This is not about the independence of Catalonia, this is about democracy.”