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It has taken a little over two years for Poland's Donald Tusk, president of the European Council at the time of the Catalan referendum on October 1st 2017, and now president of the European People's Party, to say something more about that day, which he followed from Brussels, and the extreme police violence used against referendum voters. Tusk has said that "my first advice to Rajoy [then Spanish prime minister] was not to use force against the people." More than a thousand members of the public who were only trying to deposit a voting paper in a ballot box were injured, according to the medical records of that day. 

It is revealing how much fear of speaking up there is among those who at the time held positions of responsibility in European countries or in the EU itself. Tusk was one of the few who raised his voice asking for a negotiation which did not arrive. It is even likely that the Pole was the white knight who persuaded Catalan president Puigdemont to delay the proclamation of independence planned for October 10th and announce only the validity of the referendum. We'll have to wait for the president to go public on that detail one day.

The European club of states does not permit any fissures and it seems that only when you are far away from any major decision do you dare say what, shamefully or prudently, you previously kept quiet. There must have been more said in that October 1st conversation but we will have to wait a little longer. As we will also, in the future, find out about the forcefulness with which Angela Merkel addressed Rajoy and likewise the strong words of more than one European prime minister on that violent October 1st. About this, Rajoy has not made a single mention in his recently-published selective memoirs.

Just twenty days later, on October 20th, 2017, Tusk was in the Spanish city of Oviedo, together with the controversial Jean-Claude Junker and the right-wing Antonio Tajani, to collect the Princess of Asturias Award for Concord. It was an act of unionist pomp and support for Spanish king Felipe VI after his unfortunate speech on October 3rd. Tusk had the opportunity then to explain his conversation with Rajoy and maybe some things could have been different. The puzzle of what went on those days in the foreign offices has yet to be completed.

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