Former president of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari, who won the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize for his international peace work, has said that the Spanish state has to allow "all of the members of Catalonia's government" to return "freely" to Catalonia and that they "have to be given the opportunity to take part" as candidates in the 21st December elections.
According to online newspaper EUobserver, Ahtisaari, attending the Nordic Council in Helsinki, said that "we should not let this situation develop for the worse", and described Spain's actions towards Catalonia as "too hard". However, the former Finnish president said he was hopeful that "Spain and Catalonia in some way or another [can sit down together] calmly", even if he thinks the way it has been handled so far is "unfortunate".
"I also hope that the EU can help its member state," said Ahtisaari. The former president believes that there should be mediation between the two parties and that Catalonia "should not have had the referendum on independence".
"I don't know if it is possible for EU or UN [to mediate]", said the Nobel Prize winner, "but everyone that wants a peaceful solution - they can have contact with both parties and create trust". On the topic of the leaders' imprisonment, speaking before the judge's decision was announced on Thursday, he said "we will have to wait and see if that happens".
EUobserver also reports comments from a number of other Nordic leaders on the situation in Catalonia. Prime minster of Norway, Erna Solberg, said that it "is a matter that is up to Spain to solve and it is their responsibility". Prime minister of Estonia, Jüri Ratas, meanwhile reiterated his support for "Spanish unity" and said that "Spain is a democratic country, based on [the] rule of law" which should "solve this issue according to its institutions and also legislation".