The European Parliament censors a conference on Catalonia

This Friday afternoon, the press service of the European Parliament communicated the decision of the EP president to cancel Monday’s conference on Catalonia in Brussels, which was counting on the presence of both president Puigdemont and president Torra. The move followed pressure from Spanish politicians and parties to prohibit the conference. Formally, security concerns are given as an excuse to ban the conference and ease Spanish discontent.

Three Spanish MEPs formalised the pressure against Antonio Tajani by writing a letter only yesterday, 14th of February 2018. The PP spokesman in the European Parliament, Gonzalez Pons, even threatened with the arrest of Carles Puigdemont in the Brussels premises of the European Parliament by Spanish police forces.[1]

Coincidentally, the security services of the European Parliament discovered today that a ‘high risk threat’ was posed by this event. One of the main elements taken into account is the short and symbolic occupation of the Barcelona seat of the European Commission and Parliament, organised by ourselves in an ever peaceful and completely non-violent way. We formally would like to communicate to Mr Antonio Tajani and the Directorate-General for Security that we do not foresee any action at all against our legitimate and elected president Carles Puigdemont and our regional president Quim Torra, this upcoming Monday in Brussels.

As a European civil society organisation promoting the right of self-determination of Catalonia, by peaceful and non-violent ways, we would therefore ask Mr Tajani that the freedom of assembly and the freedom of speech be respected in the European Parliament. We are convinced that, in the light of our confirmation not to organise any actions in the European Parliament on the day of the event, Mr Tajani will reassess the situation and hold up high the European values and standards as the European Parliament just ‘stressed on [this] Thursday that public debate is vital to the functioning of democratic societies and called on member states to respect the right of freedom of peaceful assembly.’[2]

We can of course not be held responsible for, as suggested by Mr Pons MEP, any violent and extraterritorial actions carried out by the Spanish police forces. We leave this kind of reasoning to Spanish Justice.

Given the speedy manner of dealing with this issue by the services of Mr Tajani and the European Parliament, we also trust that Mr Tajani and his team will very soon find the time to answer our letter to him, dated 4th of October 2017. To this date, we still did not receive any answer.


The original message from the press service of the EP, communicated this afternoon: