EU precedent set with serious consequences

12 Mar 2021

Three Catalan MEPs have been stripped of their political immunity in a vote in the European Parliament on Monday. The three politicians are leaders of the Catalan self-determination movement.

When the members of the European Parliament met on Monday, a not everyday agenda item was on the agenda: the vote on the lifting of the political immunity of three MEPs. It was clear to all those involved that this was not just a terse matter, but at the same time a landmark policy was being pursued with the ballot. At issue were Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí. All three are leading figures in the Catalan self-determination movement and were instrumental in the independence referendum in the fall of 2017. This was also the impetus for the lifting of immunity.

On Oct. 1, 2017, 2.2 million citizens of Catalonia went to the polls, with 90 percent of the people voting in favor of the creation of a separate republic. The Spanish central state prohibited the ballot in advance and responded to the peaceful citizens with massive police violence on the day of the vote. One consequence of this was not condemnation on the part of the European Union against Spain's inhuman violent actions, but cold-blooded defense of the right of national sovereignty. Not a word was said about the brutal police violence. Rather, the European Union had only one goal in mind: to nip the blazing fire of self-determination in the bud before it grew into a conflagration. That fire, which also burns in us shooters and for which we stand up every day.

Renato des Dorides, deputy national commander, is concerned about the fact that one day we could find ourselves in exactly the same situation as the Catalan independence supporters. "The lifting of immunity is a deeply worrying thing. We South Tyroleans know only too well when you become a pawn in politics and what then happens to people. The decision of the European Parliament shows quite clearly that at the center of action is not the representation of the peoples, but that of their own interests. We have been campaigning for the freedom of peoples throughout Europe for years and will not remain silent in this matter either."

The representative of the South Tyrolean Rifle Association in the International Commission of European Citizen (ICEC) Paul Decarli is also indignant: "The decision of the European Parliament may be formally correct, but it lacks any shred of morality. Representatives of the people are being punished who, together with the citizens, have practically implemented the right of self-determination of peoples agreed upon in the UN Human Rights Covenant in 1966. Such behavior is unworthy of democracy."

What will now follow after the lifting of immunity is still uncertain. Belgium has already assured the three Catalan representatives of support, the South Tyrolean government, however, remains ironically silent. South Tyrolean MEP Herbert Dorfmann is equally taciturn, refusing to comment on his voting behavior. Malicious tongues accuse the representative of a minority of having bowed to pressure and voted for the lifting of immunity.