PP alarm due to Estonian EU presidency and independent Catalonia recognition
VILAWEB – The Popular Party expects “firmness” from the Estonian government against Catalonia’s sovereignty process
The PP has demanded ‘firmness’ from the Estonian government against Catalonia’s independentist process. The spokesperson of the Spanish PP and vice-president of the European popular group in the chamber, Esteban González Pons, explained the Catalan government’s plans to call a referendum and the possibility of a unilateral declaration of independence at a meeting in Tallin.
The Prime Minister of Estonia, Juri Ratas, the president of the country, Kersti Kaljulaid, the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, and the presidents of the groups of the chamber were all present. On 1 July, Estonia will be taking over the presidency of the European Union. Last week, a delegation of Estonian Members of Parliament and Euro Members met with the president of the Government of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, in Barcelona.
González Pons asked the representatives of the Estonian government to explain ‘the reality facing Catalonia’ and said that if a territory unilaterally leaves the state to which belongs, it automatically leaves the European Union. ‘The independentist plans of Puigdemont and his partners is not only an attack on the legality of Spain, but also an attack and a challenge facing the whole of the EU, because Spain is a substantial part of Europe’, he added.
The PP said in a communiqué, ‘González Pons has explained Spain’s situation concerning the call of a referendum and the threat of a unilateral declaration of independence. ’ And he added that he had called for ‘firmness from the presidency of the EU to face up to these events if they occur’.
González Pons insisted, ‘It is important that the duty presidency of the EU, just like the community institutions, should explain the reality facing Catalonia, because leaders like president Puigdemont intentionally hide the consequences of their plans and promise that Catalonia will remain in the EU, which is impossible.’ According to González Pons, the Government of Catalonia ‘is planning a Brexit in Spain that is much tougher than the British Brexit in the EU’.
The Baltic concern
The Baltic states have concerned the Spanish government since the beginning of the Catalan independentist process. Not long ago, the former Spanish Minister for foreign affairs José Manuel García Margallo talked about the ‘favours’ that Spain owes some other countries in exchange for not giving support to the independence of Catalonia, and referred repeatedly to the Baltic countries. Margallo related Spain’s interest against Catalan independence with the state’s military presence in the Baltic Sea, and suggested that there was a factor of pressure or exchange of favours between one and the other.
There are also well-known precedents of diplomatic tension between Spain and the Baltic countries. The former Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis made declarations to the ACN agency in 2013, shortly after the success of the Via Catalana, saying that Latvia would recognise an independent Catalonia if the process was carried out legitimately. At the same time, also to the ACN, the Lithuanian Prime Minister, Algirdas Butkevicius, said that Catalonia had the right to self-determination.
After these declarations, Margallo called the Latvian and Lithuanian ambassadors for consultation in Madrid, to make the authorities of both countries rectify in their statements. First of all, the Latvian and Lithuanian diplomacy said that they had been misinterpreted, but the Latvian Prime Minister wanted to make it clear that he ‘had said what he said’ about Catalonia. Dombrovskis, the president vice president of the European commission, suffered the consequences of his words: a defamation campaign with a supposed police report published in the Interviú magazine, according to which Dombrovskis had received money for defending the sovereigntist protest. The Latvian antifraud office overturned the defamations a short time ago.