Referendum in Catalonia: the European Commission cannot keep looking the other way

1 October 2017

No democrat can remain unmoved by the images of state violence that reached us from Catalonia during today’s referendum on independence. It was a sad day for Europe. The Catalans have the right to express themselves, and that right was trampled underfoot today by state violence. That is unacceptable.

There must be a dialogue started up as soon as possible between Barcelona and Madrid, but one which is governed by international mediation. This is what Flemish Prime Minister Geert Bourgeois and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel were the first Heads of Government in Europe to call for. It is clear that the Spanish state has lost all sense of proportion, and the European Commission cannot keep looking the other way.

Selective indignation

However, the selective indignation of the European Commission is revolting. Poland and Hungary got their knuckles rapped, but when a Member State shoots at and beats up its own citizens to make the exercise of a democratic basic right impossible, it looks the other way. Today, the European Commission has lost a painfully large amount of moral authority.

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