A group of MEPs, including Josep-Maria Terricabras and Ernest Maragall from the EFA group, have written to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker calling for an investigation into the apparent 'manipulation' of a written answer to a question on Catalan independence.
The Spanish version of the answer differs substantially from the official English version approved and signed by President Juncker. Whilst the official English version simply says that it's not for the Commission to express a position, the Spanish version adds an extra paragraph.
In their letter, the MEPs say:
Dear President Juncker,
It is with great sorrow that we write this letter. As deeply pro-European politicians we have always had faith in the Commission as the guardian of the Treaties, but yesterday, part of that trust was vanished.
We discovered that the Spanish version of a Written Answer to a parliamentary question from MEP Santiago Fisas Ayxela (EPP) was different from the English one (see attached), using non-common expressions and probably manipulated. Later on in the afternoon a spokeswoman of the Commission admitted the Spanish version to be false and said: “The English version is the one agreed to by President Juncker.”
The problem arises because it had already been sent to him and made public to the press, with the addition that the right-wing nationalist Spanish newspaper ABC used it as its main topic in its front-page on Wednesday 23th.
Catalan elections are on Sunday 27th September and willing or not has made a blunder that has affected the campaign with false messages propagated against a civic pro-independence movement that has always shown its pro-European nature.
This is why we call the Commission, and particularly yourself, President Juncker, to make a public statement opening a full and open investigation to clarify this political scandal, and we demand that responsibilities are taken for all the mayhem created. Such investigation finding who manipulated the Spanish version of the answer should finish by Sunday to guarantee the neutrality of the elections results.
We would also like to hear a stronger statement from the European Commission acknowledging that whatever the outcome of the vote on Sunday, will recognize and respect the result and will call the Spanish government to negotiate with Catalonia in order to find a political solution.
We have also informed the President of the House as well as all the Members of Parliament in order to guarantee and safeguard our rights.