Photo: Vice-President of the EC, Frans Timmermans (Photo: © EC/Jennifer Jacquemart )
December 7th, 2017
“The law cannot be ignored in the name of democracy.” These were the words of the vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, who also holds the portfolio representing the “Fundamental Rights of the Union” reacted to the sovereignty demonstration that brought together 45,000 Catalans, according to the Belgian police, this Thursday in Brussels. This is an early proof that Europe will be difficult to “wake up” – as the slogan of the #wakeupeurope mobilization was hoping – in the face of violations of fundamental rights, of refugee asylum seekers or other conflicts which cast doubt on the aforementioned foundational values. “I will not go into detail about whether the 1-O vote was democratic or not, but we cannot ignore the law in the name of democracy,” the Vice President continued, but he also said “everyone has the right to demonstrate”.
A press conference took place during the demonstration, nearby, in the European Commission building. Timmermans said “expressing an ambition or political hope” is “one of the foundations of the rule of law.” “If you do not agree with the law you can protest or organize to change it in a democratic way but what cannot be allowed is simply to ignore the law,” he said, in defense of the interests of the Government of Mariano Rajoy.
Asked about the “interest” of the EC in the demonstration by the Catalans in the Belgian capital, Timmermans said that “the atmosphere seemed to be very positive, and if our citizens feel they have to come out on to the streets to protest and express their opinion, then of course we should always show interest in that. ”
Representatives of the Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDRs) of the Territories of the West a manifesto with 25,000 signatures, this morning, to the European Parliament, to demand that the EU “act” to achieve “the release of political prisoners.” The text also denounces “violations of fundamental rights” in Catalonia, specifically those which refer to “human dignity, freedoms and equality”. These rights are contained in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.