The CATALONIA referendum could spark the end of the European Union (EU) if Brussels continues to wash its hands of violent voting day scenes last weekend.
Catalonia referendum: The EU is under fire for refusing to condemn voting day violence
The European Union has issued half-hearted condemnations of the violent scenes which saw Spanish police attack Catalonians attempting to vote in Sunday’s referendum.
And with Brussels ignoring calls to mediate the situation, which has seen thousands of people protest against police brutality, Catalan officials have now hit out the bloc over its cowardly silence.
Amadeu Altafaj, the Catalan government’s Brussels representative, said the EU’s credibility and reputation” was being damaged by its solidarity with Spain.
And he said the horrific scenes last weekend, in which more than 800 people were injured by heavily-armed national guards, showed the EU is not able to protect” its citizens.
He told Politico: The credibility and the reputation of the European Union is at stake.
The Catalan government calls for an urgent international mediation, preferably European.
If the EU is not able to protect 7.5 million of its citizens from violence and repression, it will fail not only to them but to the whole union.
He pleaded for the EU to provide support in stopping police repression and to restore institutional normality, for instance by ensuring normal access to finances by the Catalan administration is restored.
The EU will today debate the vote although early indications point towards condemnation, rather than support, for Catalonia.
Spain’s Madrid government said the vote was unconstitutional and illegal, a stance echoed by Brussles.
European Parliament president Antonia Tajani confirmed the debate in a tweet which read: I spoke to Mariano Rajoy. The European Parliament will debate on constitution, rule of law and fundamental rights in Spain in light of the events in Catalonia.
The European Commission has weakly claimed the vote was an internal matter for Spain.
And frustration is growing in Catalonia about the EU’s lack of response, with Catalan president Carles Puigdemont appealing for assistance.
He said: There is no push button for independence, it does not exist. It is not a domestic matter. It is obvious we need mediation.
We do not want a traumatic break. We want a new understanding with the Spanish state.
Just under 92 per of those who voted chose independence for Catalonia from Spain. Amid chaotic scenes, turnout was 43 per cent.