European politicians from the European Free Alliance (EFA) have strongly criticised a decision of the Spanish constitutional court to suspend the functions of Catalonia's Minister of Foreign Affairs for five months.
The Spanish government brought the case arguing that Catalonia's appointment of a Foreign Minister represented a conflict of responsibilities and that foreign affairs was the exclusive competence of the Spanish state.
President of the EFA group in the European Parliament, Josep-Maria Terricabras, described the move as a direct attack on Catalan democracy.
Josep-Maria Terricabras & François Alfonsi
President of the European Free Alliance European political party, François Alfonsi was critical of the 'disturbing anti-democratic trend in Spain that runs contrary to European values.'
The new Foreign Minister is former Green MEP Raul Romeva. He was appointed to the new government in January and his key tasks include building a dialogue with European partners about Catalonia's political future and commitment to the European Union.
Catalans elected a majority of pro-independence parties in last year's elections, giving the new government a mandate to progress towards Catalan independence.
President of the EFA Group in the European Parliament, Josep-Maria Terricabras said:
"It must be remembered that the office of Foreign minister is recognised in law and in Catalonia's statute of autonomy. The Spanish government's course of action is a direct attack on Catalan democracy.
"At a European level, Spain must be reminded of its obligations as a European Union member, particularly in respect of the Copenhagen criteria, which demands respect for democratic governance and human rights."
President of the European Free Alliance European political party, François Alfonsi, said:
"We are witnessing a disturbing anti-democratic trend in Spain that runs contrary to European values.
"Catalans democratically elected their government and it is not acceptable for Spain to try and undermine that democracy."<xml></xml>