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Catalonia: Why the European Union refuses to intervene

If the European leaders are on the sidelines, Brussels does not want to open the Pandora's box of regional claims or encroach on the sovereignty of Spain.

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Catalonia: Why the European Union refuses to intervene
The European Union (EU) is in its positions. There is no question of interfering or proposing any mediation whatsoever in conflict between Madrid and Catalan secessionists. Despite repeated calls of media, Greens and European extreme left in favour of such an approach, and although situation continues to be dangerously tender between Madrid and Barcelona. "This is an internal affair in Spain," repeated a spokesman for European Commission on Friday, 6 October.

READ ALSO: The European Parliament is being stern with Catalan pro-independence

Why such rigidity, when Commission is so quick to meddle in internal affairs of or countries in Union? For example, it accuses Poland of violating rule of law with reform projects that put an end to independence of its judges. And its right to look into budgets of member countries has for years been feeding "Brussels bashing" ...

European leaders are fully aware of seriousness of Catalan crisis and risks of destabilisation for Spain, one of main EU Member states. And y activate behind scenes. But it is not a question of assuming a public intermediary role. First of all, "it would be necessary for Madrid to seek such a mediation, and that is not case," explains several diplomats in Brussels. "None of three main parties in European Parliament, in debate on Catalonia [of 4 October], asked for mediation, or any of Community institutions," adds an official Spanish source.

"You imagine Sarkozy accepting a mediation by Juncker [ president of Commission] in a crisis with Corsica?" This is unthinkable, reacts MEP (LR) Alain Lamassoure. "No question of proposing our services to Rajoy, it would weaken it and we would give right to Carles Puigdemont," adds this good connoisseur of Basque question for being a member of Pyrénées-Atlantiques in 1980 years.

Pandora's Box of regional claims

Moreover, European institutions, founded by nation-states at exit of Second World War, do not want to undermine a sovereign Member State. The functioning of Union is based on unity and stability of its Member States. "The Europeans want to avoid police violence and establishment of a dialogue between Madrid and Barcelona, but y cannot go beyond that," says anor Brussels diplomat. "I see no reason to justify interference in Spanish affairs, rule of law has not been violated, re has been no legal discrimination, for example," EU's good connoisseur still stresses.

The images of police violence during Sunday referendum were certainly shocking in north of Europe. "It made us think of Soviet methods," last few days pointed out a diplomat from a Scandinavian capital. However, in Brussels, as in Paris or Berlin, no question, despite depth of crisis and rigidity of Madrid, legitimize a temptation of independence, lest to open Pandora's box of regional claims. The wager of European leaders is that, by dint of receiving messages assuring him of his isolation, Mr Puigdemont will renounce a unilateral declaration of independence.

Symptomatic of isolation of Catalan separatists: even Switzerland, whose despatches said, however, Friday in morning, that it was ready for a mediation between Madrid and Barcelona, is completely on European line, and excessively Careful. Switzerland respects sovereignty of Spain, refore it does not take a position on a question of domestic policy of a rule of law such as Spain. A facilitation can only be made if both parties so request. Switzerland is in contact with both parties, but conditions for facilitation are not currently in place, explains world Rafael Saborit, spokesperson for Swiss representation to EU.

And if in days that come, Monday or Tuesday, Mr Puigdemont declared unilaterally independence of Catalonia? "There is probably nothing going on at European level," he still assures a Brussels diplomat.


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