The EU Doubles Down on Backing For Rajoy 135

The European Commission doubled down on its support for the paramilitary violence against civilians of all ages in Catalonia, in the debate in the European Parliament today. I watched in growing astonishment as events unfolded.

The Commission was represented by Vice President Frans Timmermans, who opened with a statement. He described the referendum in Catalonia as illegal and the actions of the Spanish police as justified, appropriate and proportionate to maintain the rule of law. He argued that there can be no human rights without the rule of law. I was expecting him to make the concomitant statement that there can be no rule of law without human rights, but he very pointedly did not say that.

In the “debate” the political groupings of the EU parliament got to make brief statements through one speaker each, starting with the largest grouping and ending with the smallest. It was only once you got down to the very small parties that human rights were mentioned at all, but they did it repeatedly. In responding to the debate, Timmermans ignored this angle entirely.

Timmerman said “rule of law” an amazing 12 times during his brief closing statement, and said “human rights” or “fundamental rights” precisely zero times. At no stage did Timmermans acknowledge that the Spanish Guardia Civil had viciously attacked peaceful civilians of all ages.

In fact, Timmerman’s statement and response together, with their refusal to recognise at any stage any rights of the citizen, and their forthright endorsement of the right of the state to use force, could have been uttered without altering a word by Franco or Pinochet.

The refusal of any of the larger parties even to contemplate for one moment the possibility that the Catalan people might have a right to
self-determination, was chilling. The so called “liberal” Verhofstadt, who argued that we “know” the Catalan majority is against independence so there is no requirement to actually vote, was beneath his veneer of bonhommie perhaps the most sinister of all. Only the Greens mentioned the UN Charter and the right of self-determination. Such was the extraordinary tenor of the general advocacy of crushing Catalan aspirations, that the Polish Law and Justice Party came across as more reasonable than the “mainstream” of the EU.

It was, in short, horrific. I am afraid to say that it left me in no doubt whatsoever that I have made the right choice in declining further to support membership of the EU.


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135 thoughts on “The EU Doubles Down on Backing For Rajoy

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  • K Crosby

    This demonstrates that whatever disguise the state adopts, liberal/liberal-democratic/social-democratic/capitalist bastard etc blah, its power rests on force without limit. As Alex found in A Clockwork Orange, his and the Droogs’ violence was child’s play compared to the organised violence which is the state.

  • Republicofscotland

    There may yet be a sign of hope, that a political dialogue can break out, between the Catalan and Spanish governments, though in my opinion the latter would prefer action to end the matter.

    A growing number of EU countries governments are beginning to publicly denounce Rajoy’s violent actions in Catalonia on Sunday, including Belgium, Slovenia, Finland, Lithuania, Hungary, Norway, Ireland and the Czech Republic.

    One can only hope that, Rajoy, sees this as pressure to hold back on the coming violent suppression of the Catalan people. Discourse is the way forward.

    • K Crosby

      Either he resorts to ultraviolence or the Catalans are out. The Catalan pres seems to be playing for time, which is in the interests of the central government, not the out voters.

  • Republicofscotland

    This is quite interesting, especially this chapter.

    “The last fifteen laws we have passed in the Catalan parliament have been banned by the Spanish state.”

    ” But these are not independentist laws — many of them are social laws: for example, a law about sanctuary for those fleeing persecution, a law banning energy companies from turning off people’s electricity, and a law for a higher minimum wage. ”

    “We want to use our autonomy to improve people’s lives and we are forbidden. People see this and respond. They want to decide the future of Catalonia and that is not possible in the current arrangement.”

    • reel guid

      A devolved parliament having all its bill vetoed. Theresa May and the Tories look on jealously and ambitiously.

      • Republicofscotland

        It could be us reel guid after Brexit remember Westminster is still the sovereign parliament.

        • reel guid

          Yes Ros.

          The Britnats have been telling us Holyrood is the most powerful devolved parliament in the world. But they clearly have plans to make it the most powerful devolved parliament in Scotland instead.

    • Victor Value

      Indeed they are and given they helped to cause those dead bodies they are also hypocrites… I look forward to the day when Cameron is brought to book for his Libya aggression.

  • Victor Value

    I maybe wrong, but are not all Catalonia’s banks licensed by the Madrid Government. Without a a license, they have no access to funds or too ECB transfer systems so If they pull the plug the ATM’s are empty?

    • reel guid

      Caixa Bank has its HQ in Barcelona. But it’s also the largest bank in Spain. And Catalonia is about the wealthiest region in Spain. So any stupid games by Madrid would only damage the Spanish economy.
      Then again, stupidity appears to be in no short supply with Spanish nationalists. And it never was historically either.

      • willyrobinson

        Caixa Bank nominally has its headquarters in BCN, but its centre of operations is more and more in Madrid. They and Sabadell are part of the establishment and unlikely to be targeted (although what reel guid says about stupidity here is spot on) – more likely they will struggle to hold on to Catalan customers because of their CEOs proximity to Rajoy.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Letting Catalonia go would damage the Spanish economy far more. Whether it retained the banks or not.

      • Loony

        Ah yes Caixa Bank the well known “largest bank in Spain” Let us look at some numbers, boring I know but how else to prove your remarkable insight into the Spanish economy.

        Caixa bank has total assets of $409.8 billion, a profit of around Euros 503 million and employees about 32,000 people.

        Banco Santander has total assets of $23,702 billion, a profit of around Euros 23,700 billion and employs around 194,000 people.

        Oh how I wonder whether 23,702 is a larger or smaller number than 409.8.

        You may also be interested to know that Scotland is around 3 times the size of Russia, and that the earth is much larger than the Sun.

        • Loony

          More shocking news – BBVA another Spanish bank struggling in the shadow of the gigantic corporation of Caixa Bank has assets of around $750 billion, a profit of around Euros 2,6 billion and employs around 138,000 people.

          Never mind, they are playing your song

  • fred

    Banco Sabadell shares have rissen 3.21% on the stock market after announcing they are discussing relocating out of Catalonia.

  • Simon

    Europe is the spacecraft of golgafrinchians in Hitch-hikers guide: it’s all the folk who escaped post-war european states, with their unions, protected national markets, welfare states, popular sovereignty and democracy, and insurgent left or communist parties, to found a new civilization without any of that crap. They did us all an enormous favour by leaving. Trouble is, they really did found a new civilization, that we unwittingly became part of. I keep dreaming that one day soon we’ll wake up, turn around and go back. Hell, we’d much rather the problems we had in 1970 than the ones we have today. But it’s looking improbable.

  • david

    Catalan independence will almost certainly go the same way as Kosovo. Some countries will recognise it some wont and it will be left in limbo for decades. My bet is that Russia would immediately recognise it, then offer military support to enforce it. No way Putin will miss an opportunity like this to utterly divide Europe. On top of that it would almost certainly give Moscow its Mediterranean deep water port facility in the Med. Spain cannot take on Russia by itself, so would need NATO help. As Russian forces would be “invited” it would not be a straight forward case for NATO.

    As the situation evolves and the Catalonian region is “expelled ” from the EU, Spain and France will almost certainly close the “border” Virtually all business that is able to relocate from the Catalan region to other parts of the EU will, creating mass unemployment, destroying the economy of Catalonia whilst strengthening the economies of France and Spain.

    Possible ? Probably not, but we live in a strange world currently.

    • Geordie Bordie

      “My bet is that Russia would immediately recognise it, then offer military support to enforce it.”

      Don’t think so. Putin is actually quite keen to keep the EU together.

      I think he has condemned the referendum, rather strongly.

      It’s not just that he has a multitude of territories who’d like to take a dander out into the big wide world for themselves, but also that he envisions some sort of unity between the EU and his Eurasian Union at some future stage.

      Won’t even have to change the stationery.

      I think the agreed elite objective is a world of blocs that come together.

      They don’t really do morality, these people.

      It’s just business.

      Bloomberg, for example, have him portrayed as some sort of Don, in this piece, all the ME leaders coming to him for counsel, and Fort Russ seem rather pleased.

    • pietra

      Amazing how emotions appear to be getting the better of perception, understandable in Murray, who tends to be an emotional, act-then-think kind of guy, but evidenced in great array by many commenters here who ought to know better.

      Ask yourself, in a moment of calm reflection, why Russia would in any sense want to support the USA project of EU break up. Why would they be supporting Soros? Why would they want a weak, US-dominated landmass of tiny, weak statelets to the west, when they have a strong network of potential and (increasingly) actual allies in the status quo? Why on god’s green earth would they want to (grantedly) weaker EU counterbalance removed from the (undeniably) acscendant NATO?

      Ask yourself, if the piigs agenda appears to have stalled, how much more compliantly rump “s” would turn into “g” than a strong and unitary “s” (and a gradually recovering one; how much more socially upheaving a channel of refugees directed to rump Spain, economically weakened, would be, than to unitary Spain.

      And so on. There are many questions to be asking, if you can only get your heads into gear.

  • reel guid

    A group of several countries, including the US, that export a lot of food to the UK have teamed up to strongly oppose the tentative deal between the UK and the EU over the terms that the UK will import foodstuffs after Brexit.

    And the group includes Canada and New Zealand. So much for the racist Ukippers’ cherished dreams of trading more with the former white dominions. They want to play hardball with the UK.

    For Theresa May it’s just another nail in her coughing.

    • david

      Because what they have proposed to do would in essence be a serious bending of the WTO rules, it would allow the EU to increase import tariffs and the UK to operate at very low thresholds. I think it would be contested in the WTO anyway because its not really playing to the rules.

    • reel guid

      Hill farmers and crofters might be landowners. But they’re very small landowners who need that EU funding. Fergus Ewing is totally right to go into bat for them.

      Helping crofters doesn’t make you a Tartan Tory.

  • My Cocaine

    Allow me to do two things Mr Murray:

    1. Apologise for some of the criticism I’ve sent your way due to your previous pro-EU statements.

    2. Welcome you on board as part of the anti-EU opposition.

    I am a supporter of Scottish independence, but I have also been a staunch critic of the European project. My logic has always been that there was little point in regaining our sovereignty from Westminster, only to immediately surrender it to Brussels.

    The Norway or the Switzerland option has always been my preferred option. That being said, the EU’s feeble response to the Catalonia crisis, and recent speeches by Juncker and Macron on future EU integration should remove any last doubt of what the end game of the European project always was: a United States of Europe, with European citizens reduced to being spectators.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Major Trapero to be investigated for sedition . It has been investigated in the framework of the complaint filed by the State Attorney General’s Office, for the concentration in front of the headquarters of the Department of Economy.”

    “The judge will also call to declare Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart , presidents of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural.”

    “The crime of sedition carries between 4 and 8 years of imprisonment, while the authorities can face sentences of up to 15 years of prison”.

    So it begins the round up and public prosecutions, a warning to those in Catalonia, that long prison sentences await you, if you promote self determination.

  • Janet Kaiser

    “Doubles down” means absolutely nothing to me! Please don’t use americanisms or whatever it is. Thank you.

  • douglas clark


    It is very early days to write off the EU. Let’s see how this unfolds before reaching the catastrophic conclusions you do.

    I like a lot of the stuff you write, I have contributed to your defence fund, but you, sir, are leaping to conclusions.

  • RHill

    You said it yourself Craig in your article on Gibraltar – ” how dare the EU take into account the position of the United Nations and of its member state, Spain, against what will be a non-member state? Who could have seen that coming?”

  • Republicofscotland

    Catalan parliament now suspended, by Spain’s constitutional courts.

    Rajoy is preparing the ground work to military occupation.

    • reel guid


      And it was the anti-referendum Socialist Party of Catalonia that went to the Spanish Constitutional Court to get the Monday session of the Catalan Parliament suspended. Although no doubt they were in cahoots with Rajoy about that.

      Disgraceful. Plenty of British Labour people will applaud or at least tacitly support this action of the Catalan Socialist Party.

      Fake or doctrinaire socialists in cahoots with granny beating fascists.

    • Victor Value

      Rajoy is a very vindictive individual of that there is no doubt but the reality is he doesn’t need to go down the military occupation route he has financial tools at his disposal. Catalans can look forward to empty cash machines, invalid card transactions, etc.

      • Loony

        Rajoy has a duty to protect all citizens of Spain. Catalans are citizens of Spain and he will therefore not seek to impose financial repression on the average citizen of Catalonia. Irrespective of his duty, he is well aware that a majority of the population of Catalonia are opposed to independence. He is hardly likely to overtly discriminate against his own supporters.

        You might be better informed if you looked more closely at the composition of Catalan authorities. You could start with the anarchists and the thieves, and perhaps move on to those who give every impression of being Catalan supremacists. You know how you been taught to hate white supremacists and now being taught to love Catalan supremacists – perhaps you could ask why and how this is.

  • m biyd

    The EU knows very well that no Nazis committed any offences under German constitutional law from 1933 to 1945. That’s why at the Nuremburg trials the reference was to natural law. The Spanish government finds it’s self at the cross roads. Will Europe turn a blind eye again to an embattled people?

    • Velofello

      Natural law? Well that’s problematic isn’t it? Natural law vs edicts by those in power. What say you Loony?

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