Catalan MEPs warn of Madrid’s “military threats”



BRUSSELS — Catalan European Parliament members caused a storm in Spain Wednesday when they sought EU’s intervention over what they said was a military threat from Madrid.



Four MEPs stated in a letter to Brussels that the country’s authorities threatened the northeastern region where demands are growing for independence.

“We are writing to you to convey our deep concern over a series of threats of the use of military force against the Catalan population,” they wrote to European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding.

The MPs recalled that hundreds of thousands of people had taken to the streets of Barcelona on September 11 this year, the Catalan national day, calling for independence.

The popular protest helped to convince the powerful region’s president, Artur Mas, to call snap elections on November 25 with the aim of organizing a referendum on “self-determination”.

But the MPs said many people including senior members of the military had since said that Spanish armed forces had a constitutional duty to guarantee the territorial integrity of Spain.

“Such threats limit Catalan and Spanish democracy as well as freedom of expression and protest for people in Catalonia. In these circumstances, the European Union should intervene preventively to guarantee that the resolution of the Catalan conflict be resolved in a peaceful, democratic manner,” the letter, dated October 22, said.

It also urged Brussels “to make a public statement insisting on the withdrawal from the public debate of any military threat or use of force as a way of resolving this political conflict”.

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