Brute state power is not the answer

29 October 2017

The N-VA looks on with concern at the developments in Catalonia. The revoking of Catalan autonomy and the threat of prosecution for its political leaders creates an untenable situation.

Over the last few weeks, the fundamental political rights of the Catalans have been violated. Police violence on the day of the referendum, the arrest of political leaders, the deposition of a democratically elected government, threats of prosecution and imprisonment,... are all unacceptable.

In addition, Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy has now taken control of Catalonia, despite his Partido Popular gaining only 8.5% of the votes in Catalonia in 2015. The democratic legitimacy of his seizure of power in Catalonia is almost non-existent.

This will not provide pacification, but will instead cause a further escalation of the conflict between Spain and Catalonia. Remembering that the current situation is a direct consequence of the Spanish Constitutional Court reducing Catalan autonomy in 2010. History shows us that less autonomy for Catalonia does not lead to more Spain, but rather quite the contrary.

The situation will only begin to de-escalate when a political dialogue is initiated, between equal partners. It is the task of the international community - and particularly the European Union - to initiate that dialogue so that Spain and Catalonia can develop a lasting agreement.

It is also the duty of us all to ensure that these events do not end in violence. Brutal state power is not the answer.

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