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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

EP Vice-President: send the military police to Catalonia

What happened to the EU as a peace project? 

To many of our readers, Alejo Vidal-Quadras (see picture) will not ring a bell, but he is one of the Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament, and a member of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's Partido Popular. In the category 'unhelpful comments', Señor Vidal-Quadras has hit the jackpot.

Commenting on the tense situation in Catalonia - and the recent calls for a referendum on independence - he said,
Things must be said clearly. The [pledge to call a] referendum is illegal. An institution of the Spanish government, the Catalan parliament, has made a decision against the existing system.
Further to taking this decision to court, the government has to get in touch with [Catalan President Artur] Mas and tell him, ‘What you’ve done breaches the law. Rectify it, or else we will have to intervene’. If [Mas] refuses to do so, the [Spanish] Senate seats, votes, the [Catalan] parliament is dissolved, the Catalan government goes home and a delegation of the [central] government takes over power in Catalonia.
A Brigade General [of the Spanish Guardia Civil]…takes over from the Mossos d’Esquadra [Catalonia’s regional police corps]. And that’s it. If people take to the street, so be it, but they can’t go on demonstrating for more than a month. Demonstrations don’t feed the people. If [the Catalans] persist with this rebel attitude, the government has to intervene in the rebel region.
Vidal-Quadras is Catalan himself, by the way...

Now, this is a very tricky debate involving a huge number of aspects. But, unsurprisingly, Vidal-Quadras was shut down by his own party. In a TV interview this morning, Alicia Sánchez-Camacho (the leader of the Catalan branch of Partido Popular) said Vidal-Quadras was speaking in his personal capacity, as he does not hold any 'significant' position within the party - which goes to show how important many national politicians consider the European Parliament to be... 


Rik said...

If the Catalan keep the pressure up they will get independence. Spain will either have to facilitate it (like a true democratic country) or do some stupid stuff like this guy that makes it a necessary from another angle. No Western government can back this up longer term towards their own population.
And a lot more candidates like in Italy and Belgium likely to follow. Will be nice to see how this process is mismanaged.

wildbeeste said...

the Scots are talking about devolution from theUnited Kingdom.They think if they separate that Scotland will automatically remain part of EU. Will the EU want another seat at the table? Or if several countries fragment several seats and the inevitable consensus problems it will bring. Paul

Rik said...

The official route is that the new country will be outside the EU to start with and have to meet all stuff to become a member.
Meaning eg that the UK could veto Scottish access or more important Spain Catalunya's.
At the end of the day I donot see really much of a problem for both. Very difficult to see that all sorts of Bananarepublics join while what likely will be a Western style democracy of a level much higher than the average (Scotland) or better than the average (Catalunya) would not.
You also need a Customs union or they will become a smuggler's paradise and likley the new Switzerland re banking. Simply difficult to exclude them (these 2 at least).

Unknown said...

Exactly, Paul, would the EU want yet "another seat on the table" in the current "state of the Union"? How realistic is further expansion of the EU should these regions become independent countries asking for membership? Before pushing further, they should remember discussions for further enlargement are put on hold (and maybe that's the good news). Or is it that they wouldn't mind staying out of the EU in the first place? By all means we may be observing the growing power of de-Globalisation and slow (but significant) shift away from unification and back to independence as the ultimate value.

Idris Frsncis said...

How long before the EU says that same to a secessionst Britain as this chap has said to Catalonia - i.e. "What you are doing is illegal, unless you stop the troops will be sent in?"

Anonymous said...

Some of the eu's states have tried that before....maybe they learnt their lesson(s) ?

Rollo said...

Jolly annoying when you choose to rule people your way, and the silly people don't want to be ruled by you. Obviously, you have to kill them until they learn to love you. Ask Assad.
But the Catalans are being misled. If they seek independence, thay cannot have it in the EU. They will become a small region in a superstate of regions and cities; powerless, as Salmomd would have Scotland.

christina Speight said...

The Spaniards had a terrible bloody and destructive Civil War from 1936-1939 . If they did not learn a lesson from that they need their heads examining. Badly handled this has all the makings of another. The bellicose idiot who made this suggestion of sending in troops needs rapid incarceration. So. it is not permitted to leave the EU? That makes me certain we should - asap.

Average Englishman said...

Either democracy will prevail and the smaller countries will get their vote to divorce or stay with their existing national partners or the matter will be decided 'on the streets' in time honoured fashion. I suspect that the EU would rather leave the parties to fall out and then send their 'peace keeping force' in as a noble act of self sacrifice that would just by the way, castrate the rights of the combatants and make them easy meat for a nice EU compliant long term final solution.

As for the EU heirachy, I expect that they would be quite happy to see a splitting of nations into smaller states, as that would make their respective populations easier to control from Brussels; all part of the divide and conquer policy under the umbrella of the EUSSR. All rather like their attempt to split the UK into regional government chunks that could be controlled more easily.

The Irish thought that joining the EU would give them more clout in the World but it seems to me that all it had done is nearly bankrupt them, so good luck to any other of the 'smaller players' that want to give it a go. I would have thought 'better to stay with nurse for the fear of something worse'.

Idris, the EU troops will be walking down Whitehall only over my dead body and I suspect, those of a lot more Englishmen than they would care to mix with. I am sure that Barosso and the boys would be quite happy with the concept but even they have the good sense to know that this sort of forced subjugation will just not work any more. If the Americans effectively failed in Iraq with a few hundred thousand occupying troops, the EU would have a seriously hard time succeeding with the resources that will be available to them even in twenty years time. No, they will not march in this time, they will continue to work at us from within by using the likes of our glorious deputy Prime Minister Mr. Clegg to try and take away our freedoms and strength one small piece at a time: a fishing fleet here, a banking industry there, until all that's left is a sheep farmers, people on benefits and a BMW showroom, unless of course the awakening continues, as I believe it will.

Anonymous said...

If Scotland will have to apply for EU membership if it gains indipendance I would have thought that England/Wales/Northern Ireland would also have to apply since from an EU point of view there will be two new countries. Is there a flaw in that argument?

Denis Cooper said...


The major flaw is not in your argument but in the widely accepted but entirely unrealistic scenario of the Scots voting for independence in the referendum and Scotland immediately becoming an independent sovereign state, and lo and behold Scotland has instantly dropped out of the EU, by accident as it were, and maybe the rest of the UK has accidentally dropped out of the EU as well.

It wouldn't happen like that; rather the referendum result in favour of independence would signal the start of lengthy and complex negotiations aiming for final separation at a prestated time and date, say midnight on December 31st 2016.

Part of those negotiations would be for a treaty to amend the present EU treaties, to accommodate the forthcoming new legal reality of Scotland being a separate, independent sovereign state.

And given the strongly pro-EU sentiment in the political class both north and south of the border, my money would be on a seamless transition from the present UK being one EU member state to Scotland and the rest of the UK being two separate EU member states.

But possibly with additional treaty changes extracted by other EU member states as the price for their agreement to the amending treaty, for example that both of the new EU member states must commit themselves to join the euro as soon as conditions are deemed correct.

Anonymous said...

Vice-President of the European Commission Viviane Reding has stated there is no law that says Catalonia should leave the EU if it became independent. I presume the EC Vice-president knows a little more than you on the subject. Please don't scare people with your own and unbased suppositions.

Anonymous said...

The United Nations

The States Parties to the present Covenant,

Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Recognizing that these rights derive from the inherent dignity of the human person,

Recognizing that, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social and cultural rights,

Considering the obligation of States under the Charter of the United Nations to promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and freedoms,

Realizing that the individual, having duties to other individuals and to the community to which he belongs, is under a responsibility to strive for the promotion and observance of the rights recognized in the present Covenant,

Agree upon the following articles:
and finally this :
Article 1
1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.