ZAGREB, January 16, 2020 – Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has told the former President of the Government of Catalonia, Carles Puidgemont, that the issue of Catalonia’s status should not be dealt with by the EU heads of state and that it should be resolved in Spain, the Spanish news agencies EFE and Europa Press have reported.
Puidgemont addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, calling on the Council of the EU, which is currently chaired by Croatia, to support dialogue between Catalonia and Spain.
“During the discussion it was mentioned that we, as the presidency, had requested dialogue. That issue was not considered, particularly not at the level of the Council nor is it part of the activities of our presidency. That is a matter that needs to be resolved in Spain,” Plenković said while answering a question at a news conference.
The Council of the European Union is an EU institution where ministers from the 28 member-states coordinate policies.
In his address at the European Parliament, Puidgemont said that Catalonia was a European internal issue that would be present during Croatia’s six-month presidency, which was why it was necessary to find a political solution through dialogue and negotiations.
Puidgemont was indicted in Spain for incitement to rebellion after he organised a referendum in 2017on the independence of Catalonia, an autonomous region with a population of 7.5 million. The Constitutional Court had banned the referendum. A Supreme Court judge on Friday asked the European Parliament to strip Puidgemont of immunity so that he could be extradited to Spain.
A former vice-president in Puidgemont’s government, Orio Junqueras, was sentenced in October 2019 to 13 years in prison for his role in the failed attempt at gaining independence for Catalonia.
In May 2019 Puidgemont and a former member of his government in charge of healthcare, Toni Comin, were elected to the European Parliament, which first withheld their accreditation but in December 2019 accredited them in line with a ruling by the Court of Justice of the EU in Luxembourg. This week they took part in the European Parliament’s session for the first time.
More news about relations between Croatia and Spain can be found in the Politics section.