Europe's judges set new impulses in the Catalonia question

Human rights activists call for political dialogue instead of criminalization (Press Release)

Image: Jomatofa via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Following the ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the immunity of Catalan politicians, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) demands a credible political dialogue, emphasizing that the Spanish leadership should negotiate with the independence movement on an equal footing in order to set goals for Catalonia's future. "The ruling of the Luxembourg judges was a shot across the bow, and it must have consequences. There must be a paradigm shift in Spain's Catalonia policy," emphasized Ulrich Delius, the STP's director, in Göttingen on Friday. "As was to be expected, criminalizing the leaders of the independence movement has led to nothing. Only a credible dialogue might help to solve the Catalonia question."

The human rights organization strongly criticizes the fact that immediately after the announcement of the ECJ ruling, a court in Barcelona had banned the Catalan regional president Qim Torra from holding any public office for 18 months. "The timing of the controversial ruling against Qim Torra was certainly not coincidental. Stubbornness and ignorance will damage Spain's reputation as a constitutional state," says Delius. The convicted politician announced that he will appeal against the decision.

On Thursday, the ECJ had confirmed the much-noted decision that European law takes priority over Spanish law, and that Spain should thus have respected the immunity of the Catalan MEP Oriol Junqueras. The former vice-president of the Catalan Parliament, who was imprisoned in Spain, should have been released after the announcement of the election, allowing him to exercise his mandate in the European Parliament. Junqueras was arrested in May 2019 and was later sentenced to 13 years in prison for "insurgence". 

Ulrich Delius is available for further questions: u.delius@gfbv.de or +49 (0)160 – 9567 14 03.

Headerimage: Jomatofa via wikimedia