Heidi Hautala, a vice president of the European Parliament, affirms that the EU Parliament gave way to pressure from the main Spanish political parties in its decision to veto an event at the Parliament featuring exiled Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and current president Quim Torra. Spain's right-wing opposition parties Popular Party (PP) and Ciudadanos (Cs), along with the governing Socialist (PSOE) party - all three opposed to Catalan independence - were behind the veto announced by the EU Parliament's president, Antonio Tajani, according to the Finnish MEP Hautala, who also added that the reason Tajani gave, "security problems", was an excuse.
The EP vice president gave her statement on the matter in two tweets on Saturday morning:
Seems that FR, IT and ES MEP delegations had put political pressure on Tajani, about what they took as provocation ahead of ES elections. Tajani had to invent a way out, thus - security. Not very transparent. @GreensEP— Heidi Hautala (@HeidiHautala) 16 de febrer de 2019
Having attributed the pressure to delegations from three countries, she narrowed it down in her second tweet, attributing specific responsibility to the three Spanish parties: Spain's PP (as part of the European Popular Party), the PSOE (part of the Socialists and Democrats group) and Cs (who are part of the ALDE group). According to the Finnish MEP, the Spanish parties claimed the holding of the event in the European Parliament was a "provocation" because of the Spanish general election which has just been called for April 28th, ten weeks away.
I have to specify that most likely the political pressure to cancel the event came from Spanish EPP, S&D and ALDE delegations which indeed took it as provocation.— Heidi Hautala (@HeidiHautala) 16 de febrer de 2019
The event featuring the two Catalan presidents is still scheduled to go ahead on Monday at 6pm in Brussels, although a new location has yet to be announced.