The European Commission has been accused of 'unequal treatment' in respect of Catalonia during a debate today in the European Parliament on the rule of law in Malta.
Today's debate was in response to the recent brutal murder of a Maltese journalist.
However the EU institutions are yet to show similar concern for the situation in Spain in relation to Catalonia's independence referendum which saw widespread police brutality towards peaceful voters.
Subsequently, several members of Catalonia's democratically elected government have been imprisoned whilst others have been forced into exile. The Speaker of the Catalan Parliament has been released on bail, apparently for allowing a democratic debate.
This has led to concerns that the European Commission may be applying double standards in responding to concerns about the rule of law in different member states.
Speaking in the debate, Josep-Maria Terricabras, President of the EFA Group in the European Parliament said:
"Concern and wish for dialogue in relation to Spain is not shown by the European institutions. In spite of having more than strong signals of breaches of the rule of law, of democracy and of fundamental rights.
"There the police have brutally beaten peaceful people, the central government has sacked a democratically elected regional government, half of this government is in prison, the other half in exile. The President of Parliament was sent to prison, seven hundred mayors are judicially indicted.
"Do we need more? There is more.
"Why this unequal treatment?
"Mr. Timmermans, are the European institutions applying the principle 'Be strong with the weak, and be weak with the strong'?"