"Double standards must end in the EU." These were the words of Catalan MEP Clara Ponsatí to the European Parliament today in a speech which compared the situation in Hungary - warned on several occasions by the EU due to its anti-democratic measures - with that of Spain which, she said, was taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis to implement authoritarian policies.
"The violations of human rights and freedoms by Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban are not new," said Ponsatí. The EU has looked the other way for too long, said the Catalan pro-independence politician, "and action is urgent".
"But look beyond what is happening in Hungary. In Spain, the government of Pedro Sánchez is also using the coronavirus to implement authoritarian policies," she told the Parliament, in English.
He denunciat la doble vara de mesurar de la UE. Espanya, com Hongria, també està prenent mesures autoritàries, i ja fa més de 24 hores que Aministia Internacional ha demanat, un cop més, la llibertat de Cuixart i Sánchez. Vergonya! pic.twitter.com/ey6UTDvVdt— Clara Ponsatí (@ClaraPonsati) May 14, 2020
"In Spain the police have been instructed to look for negative messages [on social media], and it can be punished with up to 5 years' prison, just like in Hungary. They are conducting police wiretaps without judicial control," she added. The situation that Ponsatí was referencing came to light in April when the head of the Spanish Civil Guard explained to reporters that his force was working "to minimize the negative climate against the government's management of the coronavirus crisis".
Clara Ponsatí also that Spain also continued to violate the human rights of the the imprisoned Catalan pro-independence leaders: "Mr Sánchez continues to ignore the advice of the United Nations and Amnesty International, and the political prisoners have not been released in spite of the instructions of these bodies."