Spanish government repression: EU must work to protect fundamental rights
Gabi Zimmer writes to Commission VP Timmermans on recent worrying events in Spain
Mr. Frans TIMMERMANS
First Vice-President of the European Commission
Better Regulation, Interinstitutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
CC: Mr. Jean-Claude JUNCKER
President of the European Commission
Dear Vice-President Timmermans,
We would like to draw your attention to a series of very worrying events that concern the whole of the Union.
As the consultation process on independence, promoted by the Government of Catalonia for October 1, moves forward, the position of the Spanish Government, which has remained indolent since the beginning of the process, has not been characterized by the search for a dialogue-based solution. Quite the contrary, it seems they have waited for their resistance to dialogue to provoke a level of tension that would allow them to adopt coercive measures through the State security forces. This irresponsible strategy has created further tension and reduced the possibility of a democratic solution.
On 20th September, 14 senior officials of the Government of Catalonia were arrested. The police besieged the headquarters of one of the political parties that supports the consultation process in the Catalan Parliament. The Spanish Government intends to take control of the accounts of the Catalan Government. A large majority of the mayors of Catalonia, who have shown themselves in favour of facilitating the democratic expression of popular opinion, have been threatened with arrest. Political advertising has been confiscated. Public debates have been banned.
These measures not only violate fundamental rights but also seek to repress the popular will widely expressed by Catalan citizens. Our responsibility, as representatives of the citizens, is to facilitate and transfer their will to the institutions, not to repress it. Whatever one’s position on the independence of Catalonia, the repressive measures being taken by the Spanish Government are unacceptable and require the mediation of institutions that, because they are not directly involved in the conflict, can contribute to a democratic solution that safeguards civil liberties and fundamental rights.
It is for this reason that we kindly request you, as First Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, to instigate, from the European Commission, an initiative that brings the situation back within the political framework from which it should never have moved.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if any further clarification is required.