Letter of MEP Javier Nart, Vice President of Alde Group, on October, 10th, after the events in Catalonian Parliament

Subject: Unilateral Declaration of Independence: a threat to th European Union
From: NART Javier
To: “Groupes Politiques, Mep et Assistants”

Dear colleagues,

The President of the Catalan regional government, Carles Puigdemont, unilaterally declared the independence in a highly irresponsible speech given today in the Catalan Parliament.

After this sad event, I would like to stress the

  • After overcoming Franco’s dictatorship, Spain went through one of the most peaceful and successful transitions to become a modern democracy. Since then, Spain has continued developing socially, politically, and democratically. Today, I can proudly say that Spain is a fully-fledged democracy, and a member state of the EU, the United Nations, NATO…
  • The 1-O was an illegal referendum, with no guarantees, where only the secessionists were called upon to vote, where people cast votes several times, where there was no neutral democratic control, where the polling stations where controlled by pro-independentist voluntaries… The minimum standards required to hold referendums according to the Venice Commission (European Council) were simply not respected.
  • Today, by declaring and ambiguous secession after a fake “referendum”, the regional Catalan government has proven that their plan was not about democracy but secession. The 1-O was an excuse, an alibi to do so. When they said they wanted to place ballot boxes they actually meant that they wanted to place borders.
  • There is no social majority, no legal basis and no truth in the Catalan regional government’s campaign. And they are destroying the welfare state of the citizens of Catalonia (in the last five days, the two main Catalan banks, and more than 30 important companies have moved their headquarters out of Catalonia).
  • The EU was created to overcome nationalism. What is happening in Spain not only affects Spain: to break Spain is to break Europe. Every European secessionist is watching the reaction of the European Union; if they see the Member States’ governments and the European Institutions reacting in a mild or ambiguous way, Pandora’s Box will be opened and other national-populist movements will appear.
  • Catalonia is one of the regions with the highest levels of self-governance in Europe. They (we) possess wide competences in education, health, security, culture, innovation, business… The only thing that could encourage them to demand independence is segregation and identity based nationalism.
  • There is no democracy without rule of law. We shall not accept the attack on our democratic institutions. When democracy is threatened, democratic institutions must defend it by all means established by the law.
  • The way forward is political inclusiveness, dialogue and agreement within the constitutional order.
  • Catalonia is divided. Spain is in crisis… And the European Union will be deeply affected if we open Pandora’s box of national-populist movements.