In the last hours, a number of European governments have joined in the criticism of the Spanish authorities over the repression against Catalonia.

Belgium’s PM Charles Michel was the first to do so, with a call to engage in political talks.

Furthermore, the Belgian Interior Minister, Jan Jambon, asked out loud where Europe was and why it was not responding to the aggression against Catalonia:

The Belgian PM’s words were quickly echoed by Slovenia’s premier, Miro Cerar, who admitted he was concerned about the situation in Catalonia following Spain’s crackdown.

The Speaker of the Parliament of Slovenia, Molan Brgelz, stated that Catalonia has the right to self-determination and announced that he would summon the Spanish ambassador and urge him to provide an explanation for the repression.

Miha Lobnik, a lawyer with Slovenia’s Advocate of Principle of Equality (an official body that protects the rights of the citizens of the republic), voiced a very firm condemnation of the events. Lobnik asked himself if Slovenians would want to be part of a European Union that allows Catalans to be treated like that:

On Sunday the president of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, posted a message on Twitter stating that the situation in Catalonia was very fragile and that a negotiation was needed. Niinistö urged the end of all threats:

Shortly afterwards, Finland’s Foreign Minister raised the tone of the protest: “Violence in Catalonia is unacceptable”.

Also on Sunday, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister, Linas Linkevicius, released a public statement arguing that violence would not resolve the Catalan issue and urging the Rajoy administration to engage in talks with “their people”.

Along similar lines, Norway’s Foreign Minister voiced his concern over the events and a potentially violent escalation.

In the Czech Republic, it was the government spokesman who expressed a protest. With irony, Martin Ayrer wondered out loud if the pictures that kept coming from Catalonia were actually from 2017 and taken in an EU member state.

Additionally, yesterday the Irish Prime Minister agreed to the motion tabled in parliament by Gerry Adams and will telephone his Spanish counterpart, Mariano Rajoy, to take Ireland’s issue with the violence unleashed against the Catalan referendum:

These reactions follow earlier ones, such the comments by the Hungarian PM’s spokesman, who spoke after the arrests on September 20 saying that the outcome of the Catalan referendum must be respected. Other political leaders have also reacted in France, the UK, Denmark, Italy and Germany.

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Vicent Partal
Director de VilaWeb