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"Spain is a full democracy". That was the message Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez wanted to emphasise today during a lightning trip to Strasbourg where he warned about "fake news" and "fake narratives" about Spain. "Today's Spain has made its own the principles of the separation of powers and judicial independence and has one of the systems with the most guarantees in the world", he claimed during a speech to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, within days of the start of the trial of pro-independence Catalan leaders. In Spain, he insisted, "the protection of human rights is not in question".

During his visit he went to the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe. It's the first time a Spanish prime minister has visited the court, which the independence leaders are already planning to turn to once they've exhausted their options within Spain.

"In the times of fake news, I won't stop appealing to the strength of the real data," he said. He noted that, over the last four years, the Spanish state has been below average in terms of appeals to the court and judgements which go against it. He used this to warn against "false narratives to mobilise towards hatred and division". He also warned that "when the unilateral rupture takes precedence over the search for consensus, when people turn to to liesmanipulation or invented grievances, democracy is weakened".

On the subject of Spain's coofficial languages (in different autonomous communities: Catalan, Galician, Basque and Occitan), he said they enjoy "the greatest level of protection in our history", adding that Spain is "one of the most decentralised states in the world".