The pro-independence crowd outside the parliament followed the session vote by vote. The crowd met every “Yes” vote with a cheer – and every “No” with a boo. At the end of the vote, there was a huge cheer…
On May 4th, 1990 I stood in such a crowd, my heart skipping to every “Yes” vote and sinking with every “No”. My little Latvia was bravely breaking away from the Soviet Union. Today it was Catalonia, declaring independence. And I felt the same emotions, again. Go, Catalonia, go! My heart goes with you!
Today my Latvia is an independent state, member of EU and NATO. I hope, Catalonia will be too. But I fear, the road will be not easy.
The Spanish Constitutional Court is likely to declare Catalonian independence vote illegal, and key international powers – the EU and the US – back the Spanish position.
And I’m sad. For EU. Disappointed. Ashamed.
Catalans had been as level-headed as possible, and called for talks, dialogue and democratic solutions. And all their calls had been met by deaf ears in Madrid and Brussels.
The score so far – two political prisoners in Spain. Just think about this – political prisoners in EU, the supposed beacon of democracy.
And there is a chance that there will be more – Spain is pursuing rebellion charges against those responsible for the Catalan parliament vote. Under Spanish criminal law, rebellion can be punished with up to 25 years in prison. Charges of treason can be prepared against Mr Puigdemont and his government. The speaker of Catalan parliament, Teresa Forcadell, and members of her committee could also be accused of crimes against the state for allowing the vote to go ahead.
The president of the European Council Donald Tusk offered his full support to the government of Spain. EU’s commissioner Carlos Moedas said it was the bloc’s responsibility to defend order in Spain. “We as the EU have to be on the defence on the constitutional order of Spain.
The president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said that the vote in Barcelona showed that “more cracks” were appearing in EU unity.
Yes, Herr Juncker, cracks are appearing! I had been following Brexit talks closely, and felt appalled for the EU rhetoric. I was all against Brexit, strong supporter for the “remain”, but last year’s EU rhetoric made me rethink my position. EU has been acting ugly. And EU response to Catalonia’s pledge had been even more appalling.
Yes, Junker, cracks are appearing. But these cracks are not Scottish or Catalan made, they are made by you, Jean-Claude Junker, you, Donald Tusk, and the rest of EU officials.
I had been waiting for EU response. Today I heard it. And I lost trust in the democratic principles of the European Union.