January 28, 2021
Spanish government must show leadership on future of Catalunya and Basque Country – Kearney

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney called today on the Spanish government to engage in inclusive negotiations and bring forward a positive, new agenda which enables self-determination for the people of Catalunya and the Basque Country.

Writing in An Phoblacht the South Antrim MLA and minister in the northern Executive also said that the EU must use its considerable diplomatic influence with the Spanish government to assist in finding permanent resolutions.

Declan Kearney said:

“A political resolution to the crisis between Catalunya and Spain will only be found through an inclusive negotiation process. So as a matter of urgency the Spanish government should resume the dialogue with leaders of the independence movement which began in February 2020, but has been stalled ever since.

“Earlier this month Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD wrote to An Taoiseach registering our party’s support for the immediate release of all prisoners, the return from exile of other leaders, and the introduction of an amnesty. She called on the Irish government to give leadership by encouraging the Spanish government to embrace dialogue to resolve the crisis.

“The Catalan leadership in prison and exile has a legitimate political mandate for independence. That must be respected by the government in Madrid. Rather than relying upon failed policies from the past, this particular Spanish government has to reconcile itself to that democratic reality, and the popular momentum for independence in Catalunya. 

“In early December there was new evidence of further political regression by the Spanish state regarding the Basque peace process. In a new negative move the Spanish Supreme Court announced its decision to reopen the case of five Basque political leaders, including Arnaldo Otegi, General Secretary of EH Bildu. 

“In 2018, by which time all five had served their sentences of six and a half years in full, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), ruled their right to a fair trial had been violated. 

“This latest ruling constitutes a serious violation of the 2018 ECHR ruling, and infringes the human rights of all concerned. But it is also a premeditated political attack against those central to building the Basque peace process, and the very integrity of the process itself.

“The political reality is that Catalunya and the Basque Country are European issues. 

“It is no longer tenable for the European Union (EU) to remain passive and silent in the face of democracy being denied, and human rights violations being perpetrated: Or, whilst the Spanish government fails to engage in direct, good faith negotiations with the respective political leaderships.

“The EU should recognise that there are critical national and democratic issues to be resolved in both the Basque Country and Catalunya and use its considerable diplomatic influence with the Spanish government to assist in finding permanent resolutions.”

Read Declan Kearney’s full blog on An Phoblacht at www.anphoblacht.com/contents/28011

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