European peoples without a state of their own have been given the cold shoulder by the elected representatives of the current EU. The European Parliament has refused to include a defence of the right of peoples to self-determination in its already-questioned report on fundamental rights in the EU between 2018 and 2019. The proposed amendment from MEP Diana Riba, of the Catalan party ERC, called on the EU institutions and states to "respect and defend the right of peoples to self-determination as well as the cultures, identities, languages and all democratic and peaceful political ambitions of European peoples". However, with 487 votes against, 170 in favour and 37 abstentions, the amendment was removed. Opposition to the self-determination amendment came from three large political blocs: the European People's Party, the Socialists and Democrats and the Renew Europe group.
Meanwhile, the Fundamental Rights report itself, having been stripped of mentioning specifics, such as the Julian Assange prosecution and Spain's jailing of the Catalan pro-independence leaders, was adopted, with even the report's rapporteur, Irish MEP Clare Daly, voting against the watered-down version. The final version adopted warns of the deterioration of fundamental rights in some EU states, but does not mention any in particular. Once again, the chamber has called for an effective mechanism to monitor respect for the rule of law in the EU.
The amendment to defend the right to self-determination
The amendment tabled by Diana Riba in conjunction with Clare Daly called for respect for the universal right of peoples to self-determination as a right that enables people to freely decide their political, economic and cultural status. "The right to self-determination is a universal right according to international law and should be included in this report. Many territorial disputes could be resolved just by listening to people instead rather the dominating nations and corporations," Riba asserted on her Twitter profile.
Thank you @Konecna_K!💪 Indeed, the right to self-determination is a universal right according to international law and should be included in this report. Many territorial conflicts could be sorted just by listening to people rather than the dominating nations and corporations. https://t.co/mEb1zZogOn— Diana Riba i Giner (@DianaRibaGiner) November 25, 2020
Censorship in the European Parliament
"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." With this George Orwell quote, MEP Clare Daly earlier this week strongly denounced the "expunging" from the report of the explanatory note which mentioned the existence of "court rulings exceeding ten years in prison for allowing democratic plebiscites ", in reference to the nine Catalan pro-independence leaders imprisoned for holding the referendum on independence from Spain in 2017. "I'm not surprised that they wanted the text removed", said Daly in Parliament, "because it is an indictment on the Spanish state and the EU."
Catalan pro-independence MEP Toni Comín (JxCat) as well as Diana Riba spoke before the plenary about the "censorship" of the Fundamental Rights report prepared by the parliamentary Committee on Civil Liberties. Again, members of the European People's Party, the Socialists and Democrats and Renew Europe formed the majority of support for the removal of the section on the jailed Catalan leaders.
Spanish Socialist MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar, chairman of the Civil Liberties committee, said that the rules of the chamber allow him to suppress the particular opinion of the rapporteur if it is contrary to the report and if a majority of groups request it.