Brussels calls for dialogue in Catalonia but defends “the proportionate use of force”

Timmermans said that violence does not solve anything in politics

The European Parliament has finally debated the quest for independence in Catalonia, albeit 3 days after last Sunday’s dramatic events.

In a debate that was held on Wednesday morning, Frans Timmermans, former Vice-President of the European Commission, said that “nobody wants to see violence in our society,” but there is “a duty of every government to uphold the rule of law.” He urged both the National and the Catalonia governments to open the lines of dialogue “immediately” and to set aside the “confrontation”

Timmermans has said that the images of police charges last Sunday in Catalonia are “sad” as he stated that “violence does not solve anything in politics” and that it should not be used as a “weapon or an instrument.”

However the community vice president made a fiery defence of democratic principles, including the rule of law and human rights. He warned, respect for the rule of law “is not an option” and if the law “does not give you want” you may try to change it, “but you cannot ignore it.”

“We understand that people want to express their opinions, freedom of expression is a fundamental right of every European citizen. But one opinion is no more valid than another,” he proclaimed to applause, at the beginning of the debate.

In this context, Timmermans has stressed that Sunday’s vote “was not legal” and that for Brussels the Catalonian challenge for independence is an “internal matter” that must be treated within the constitutional order of Spain.