Statement by the International Parliamentary Delegation on Catalonia’s Referendum on Self-Determination Oct. 1st 2017
- We were impressed and reassured by the patient, determined and non-violent behaviour of the huge number of people who came out to vote across Catalonia.
- As a Parliamentary Delegation we wish to express abhorrence at:
(a) The violence of the Spanish State that brought about more than 800 individuals being injured.
(b) The electronic sabotage deployed against the democratic vote.
(c) The removal of ballot boxes by Spanish State Forces.
- We would like to express our admiration for scrupulous and professional work of polling staff across Catalonia in the face of real and significant problems and pressures.
- As far as the organization of the polling stations is concerned, we found that the process was prepared thoroughly and in agreement with the existing legislation of the Kingdom of Spain.
- Regardless of this context, the activities of the polling stations were threatened and obstructed by outside intervention consisting of electronic and physical disturbance including the use of violence by the Spanish state police.
- In most cases, the election-personnel was forced to abandon the prepared plan of voting with the help of electronic devices, and had to resort to traditional voting rolls. The voting procedure was thus essentially prolonged.
- More threatening were the physical interventions by the Spanish State Police that could, in some cases be defined as brutal, and in most cases as breaches of human rights and civil liberties.
- The referendum was a demonstration of the determination of the Catalonian people, as far as the right to vote and democratic process were concerned. It meant a successful political mobilization of the Catalonian nation. The results of the referendum will have to be taken into account by the international community generally, especially by European Union, Council of Europe, and the Spanish authorities.
- The process was conducted in a positive, peaceful and friendly atmosphere despite provocation.
- The process was conducted in an efficient manner by a large number of volunteers selected following democratic procedures.
- There was an adequate number of ballot boxes for the process – except in the cases when they were confiscated by the Spanish State police.
- Adequate steps were taken to ensure that only registered electors could cast their vote and that all reasonable steps were taken to prevent double voting.
- The democratic process was threatened, but it was not destroyed. The people of Catalonia defended their right to vote with great courage and integrity.
- Main problems of the referendum were the legal limitations of and political threats to the referendum-personnel including the central Electoral Commission and confiscation of casted votes by the Spanish police.
- The need to switch from electronic to classical paper documentation did not help the efficient referendum process.
- [We observed difficulties of ensuring the secrecy of the vote as in many places there were no voting booths.]
- The Spanish Government should not have resorted to violence breaking the basic principles of Human Rights as established in international documents signed and ratified by the Kingdom of Spain.
- Although the Generalitat on several occasions publicly declared its willingness to negotiate in legal and amicable manner the future institutional arrangement of Catalonia, we regret that the Spanish Government refused to negotiate with them.
- We would hope that, in the near future, the Spanish Government will enter into genuine negotiations with the Catalans.
- Finally we consider it regrettable that the European Union, the Council of Europe and other international organisations have not acted to mediate with the purpose to facilitate an agreed solution, acceptable for both parties.
Barcelona, October 1st 2017
- Former Slovenian Foreign Affairs Minister Dimitrij RUPEL / Slovenia (Slovenian Democratic Party S&D)-Spokesperson
- MEP Mark DEMESMAEKER / Belgium (New-Flemish Alliance ECR Group)
- MP Peter LUYKX / Belgium (New-Flemish Alliance ECR Group)
- MEP Helga STEVENS / Belgium (New-Flemish Alliance ECR Group)
- MP Alex AHRENDTSEN / Denmark (Danish People’s Party ECR)
- MP Magni ARGE / Denmark (Member of the Faroe Islands Committee)
- MP Lars ASLAN RASMUSEN / Denmark (Socialdemokraterne S&D)
- MP Pelle DRAGSTED / Denmark (Enhedslisten)
- MP Rasmus NORDQVIST / Denmark (Alternativet)
- MP Artur TALVIK / Estonia (Vabaerakond – Free Party)
- MP Simon ELO / Finland (Blue Parliamentary Group ECR)
- MP Heli Maria JÄRVINEN / Finland (Vihreät – Green League Greens/EFA)
- Assembly Bureau President of the Conseil Régional Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée Gerard ONESTA / France (Europe Écologie Les Verts Greens/EFA)
- MP Andrej HUNKO / Germany (Die Linke GUE/NGL)
- MEP Stylianos KOULOGLOU / Greece (Syriza GUE/NGL)
- MP Birgitta JÓNSDÓTTIR / Iceland (Pirate Party)
- MP Mick BARRY / Ireland (Socialist Party GUE/NGL)
- MEP Martina ANDERSON / Ireland (Sinn Féin GUE/NGL)
- MEP Lynn BOYLAN / Ireland (Sinn Féin GUE/NGL)
- MP Eoin Ó BROIN / Ireland (Sinn Féinn GUE/NGL)
- Senator Trevor Ó CLOCHARTAIGH / Ireland (Sinn Féin GUE/NGL)
- MP Ksenia SVETLOVA / Israel (Liberal/Labour – Zionist Union)
- MP Veiko SPOLITIS / Latvia (Independent – Former Vienotība)
- Former State Secretary Emil KIRJAS / F.Y.R. Macedonia (Liberal International)
- Member National CouncilAlain Victor Raymond FICINI / Monaco (HM Horizon Monaco)
- MEP Josu JUARISTI ABAUNZ / Spain (EH Bildu GUE/NGL)
- MEP María Lidia SENRA RODRÍGUEZ / Spain (Alternativa Galega de Esquerdas – Izquierda Unida GUE/NGL)
- MEP Bodil VALERO / Sweden (Miljöpartiet de gröna Greens/EFA)
- MP Joanna CHERRY / UK (Scottish National Party Greens/EFA)
- MP Douglas CHAPMAN / UK (Scottish National Party Greens/EFA)
- MEP Jill EVANS / UK (Plaid Cymru – The party of Wales Greens/EFA)
- MP Lord RENNARD / UK (Liberal Democrat Party ALDE)
- MP Hywel WILLIAMS / UK (Plaid Cymru – The party of Wales Greens/EFA)