Whilst there may be tensions between them at home in Spain, pro-union parties PSOE, PP and Cs have come together abroad to ask the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, to not allow Catalan presidents Quim Torra and Carles Puigdemont to give their planned speech in the chamber on 18th February.
In a letter, MEPs Iratxe García Pérez (PSOE), Esteban González Pons (PP) and Javier Nart (Cs) describe Puigdemont as the main author of a plan to "subvert the constitutional order in Spain" and has been "ostentatious" in his "repeated disobedience" of the orders of the Constitutional Court. "Allowing the presence of Mr Puigdemont is not consistent with the European Parliament's noble role as a point of reference for democracy and the rule of law which prevail in the EU," they argue.
"We believe that the European Parliament, which represents one of the pillars the EU is based on, like the rule of law (...), should not welcome someone who is avoiding the action of Spanish justice," they write.
Sources from the European Parliament have told the ACN (Catalan News Agency) that the decision is now up to Tajani, but they don't see "how the event could be prohibited, nor why".
El PSOE sumant-se a la dreta per impedir la llibertat d'expressió en un Parlament que és de tots. El que haurien de fer és venir a escoltar, i entendre que bloquejar espais parlamentaris i habilitar espais judicials els allunya dels estàndards democràtics europeus. https://t.co/LlRdlvm8du— Carles Puigdemont (@KRLS) 14 de febrero de 2019
Translation: PSOE joining with the right to block freedom of expression in a Parliament that belongs to everyone. What they should do is come to listen, and understand that blocking parliamentary spaces and setting up legal spaces moves them away from European democratic standards.
MEP Enrique Calvet went further in a letter of his own yesterday, saying that the presence of Torra and Puigdemont in the chamber "could put everyone's security at risk". By coincidence, German members of Calvet's ALDE group had invited Puigdemont to dinner in Berlin on Tuesday.
PP's spokesperson in the Parliament, González Pons, meanwhile, asked Spanish interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska to "find the legal formula" to arrest Puigdemont if he enters the Parliament next Monday. Sharing the letter on Twitter, he adds that "if he enters, anyone can restrain him and put him at the disposal of the Spanish National Police or the Civil Guard".
Los Grupos @PSOE @CiudadanosCs y @PPopular en el Parlamento Europeo exigimos por escrito al @EP_President que impida la entrada de Puigdemont el lunes, como se ha hecho hasta la fecha. Digo: si entra cualquiera puede retenerlo y ponerlo a disposición de @policia o @guardiacivil pic.twitter.com/D5VquaSKMW— González Pons (@gonzalezpons) 14 de febrer de 2019