Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Tuesday, 9 june 2015


“Spain, no rule of law?”

Conference - European Parliament - Brussels - 2 June 2015

Conference - European Parliament - Brussels - 2 June 2015 


I am Isabel-Helena Martí, the president of Sobirania i Justícia (Sovereignty and Justice), which is responsible for today’s presentation, together with Drets (Rights), an organisation of lawyers, whose president Sergi Blàzquez is also here, sat in the audience.
On behalf of the promoters of the event I would like to thank MEP Ramon Tremosa for his words of welcome and also for his support. Without his help and that of MEPs Josep Maria Terricabras, Francesc Gambús and Ernest Maragall organising this round table in the European Parliament would have been very difficult. We are very grateful to all four of them.
I would also like to thank Amadeu Altafaj, the Permanent Representative of the Catalan Government to the European Union for his presence here today, and also all of you for your kind interest.
“Spain, no rule of law?” is the title we have given to our presentation. You could see the question as rhetorical, or even exaggerated. It could be argued that Spain is a democratic state and a member of the EU, which is why Sobirania i Justícia and Drets can be present here today in the European Parliament. This may be so, but we ask you to consider the quality of the rule of law in Spain and whether it fully complies with EU standards.
The extremely tight political relationship between the executive and judicial powers in Spain is an unfortunate, obvious and persistent fact. Does the lack of real separation between these two spheres guarantee Spanish citizens impartial justice, which is a fundamental and inalienable right in any democracy? Is it acceptable that the president of the Constitutional Court, the highest body of arbitration, is a member of the governing political party? Are citizens rights protected in a state where accusations in the press, which are proven to be false and defamatory, are used as political instruments and systematically go unpunished? Are the unconstrained levels of political corruption the only explanation for the alarming lack of confidence of Spanish citizens in the country institutions? Is it tolerable in a 21st century democracy to prevent members of a national community, as is the case of Catalonia, from expressing their constitutional preferences and, instead, forcing a large segment, possibly a majority, of the population to accept an undesired political status? How come the Spanish judiciary allow to go completely unpunished expressions of hatred based on national and linguistic differences which Catalans suffer? Why is it that, when applying the law, Spain is so permissive with expressions of fascism and nazism, but completely intolerant of the right of expression and political opinion with regard to Catalan sovereignty?
Those are only a handful of questions we have raised. It is for sure we could make many more. But we are here to try to provide answers. I hope that our three speakers will help you understand the key issues relating to the very precarious rule of law in the Spanish State.
First I will call on Joan Vallvé, an engineer, former Minister in the Catalan Government from 1989 to 1992 and a member of the European Parliament from 1994 to 2004. He will talk to us about “Democracy and the Catalan political process”.
Now I’ll hand over to judge Santiago Vidal, a magistrate in the Barcelona Provincial Court. His presentation is on “Freedom of expression and opinion in the Spanish State".
Our last speaker is Marc Marsal, a practising lawyer and professor of law at the University of Barcelona. He will address “Spain: catalanophobia and hatred speech”.
 CATALANOPHOBIA: is something quite precocious, even though the sound of it really quite atrocious... [Brussels] Playbook [by Ryan Heath] did a double take at the idea and the label, too. If you want to know more, contact the European Free Alliance Group in the European Parliament. They suspect Spain no longer believes in the rule of law, and are holding an event to discuss the Catalanophobia they believe is to blame: According to Catalan President Artur Mas it is, however, “ridiculous” for Spaniards to complain when Catalans boo Spanish symbols such as the King, which they did on Saturday at a football match

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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Col·lectiu Emma is a network of Catalans and non-Catalans living in different countries who have made it their job to track and review news reports about Catalonia in the international media. Our goal is to ensure that the world's public opinion gets a fair picture of the country's reality today and in history.

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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia