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Thousands of Catalans protest in Strasbourg against the sidelining of democracy
Thousands of Catalans and sympathisers gathered in Strasbourg for a protest action outside the European Parliament during its opening session. They condemn the fact that the three elected Catalan MEPs Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comin and Oriol Junqueras cannot take up their mandate due to actions of political repression in Spain. “It is unacceptable that democracy is being sidelined by Madrid, because the result of the European elections is not to its liking,” says the N-VA.
Thousands of Catalans and sympathisers protest in Strasbourg
Over 4,000 Catalans and sympathisers gathered in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg to express their displeasure about the fact that three elected Catalan MEPs cannot take up their seats. They are former President of the Government of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont and former Ministers of the Government of Catalonia Toni Comin and Oriol Junqueras. This despite all three of them having been democratically elected in the recent European elections.
Democratically elected Catalans cannot take up their seats
Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comin are both residing in Belgium in exile because in Spain they risk being arrested. As a result they were unable to go back to Spain after their election as MEPs in order to take the oath of allegiance there, a requirement for all Spanish candidate MEPs. Nor was it possible for Oriol Junqueras, who is still in prison in Spain, to take the oath. The Supreme Court forbade him from leaving his cell. For this reason the Spanish authorities refused to submit their names to the European Parliament as elected MPs. Consequently their seats in the European Parliament remain empty.
The N-VA is also taking action in Strasbourg. “Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comin and Oriol Junqueras were all three democratically elected. Furthermore they represent 2.3 million Catalans. It is unacceptable that democracy is being sidelined by Madrid, because the result of the European elections is not to its liking.”
But the story nevertheless has another twist in its tail. “In this way the controversy about the political repression in Spain is being escalated to European level. That is unprecedented,” says the N-VA. “The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg will have to deliberate on the matter. The Catalans are demanding respect for democracy and for their vote. This is something that should be at the heart of every democrat in Europe.”
N-VA supports protest action at the Flemish Parliament
At the Flemish Parliament too, a delegation from the N-VA, including among others Members of the Flemish Parliament Annabel Tavernier, Allessia Claes and Karl Vanlouwe along with Members of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives Theo Francken and Darya Safai, supported the Catalan protest action in Strasbourg. “It is a disgrace that the three MPs cannot take up their mandate,” says Theo Francken.