European liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt has been accused of double standards after speaking out against democratic abuses in Poland, but maintaining "a disappointing silence" on Spain's approach to Catalonia. Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister and currently leader of the liberal grouping in the European Parliament, published a tweet on Monday defending "real democracy", in which "the rights of the minority are protected against the dictate of the majority", as a direct criticism of the controversial judicial reform approved by the government of Poland. However, his comments provoked a twitter storm due to the rejection that the politician has often shown for the Catalan sovereignty process and his support for the anti-independence Citizens party.
Poland’s most senior judge accuses the government of a “coup” against the judiciary. PiS government should rule for everybody, not only for its supporters. In a real democracy the rights of the minority are protected against the dictate of the majority https://t.co/opqVVKezkc— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) 25 of December 2017
Among the many voices who have spoken out against Verhofstadt's apparent double standard, Scottish member of the British parliament Joanna Cherry said she was "puzzled" by his failure to apply the same criteria to Spain over the issue of Catalonia:
Martí Anglada, journalist and representative of the Catalan government in France and Switzerland, also urged the European liberal leader to "apply the same reasoning to the question of what a real democracy should be like in Spain/Catalonia". Anglada added: "Be consistent!"
Doncs, vinga Sr. Verhofstadt, apliqui aquest raonament sobre com ha de ser una democràcia real a Espanya/Catalunya.— Martí Anglada (@AngladaMarti) 25 of December 2017
Sigui conseqüent! https://t.co/PDTNAuf0zW
Many other social media users also added their own criticisms and accused Verhofstadt of "hypocrisy", reminding him of his previous statements and positionings on Catalonia:
Why condemn Poland and not Spain? when the Vice President was clearly seen and heard congratulating themselves for sending the Catalan politicians to jail? https://t.co/394RcGJq9o— LlanitoPolitics (@LlanitoPol) 26 of December 2017
I must have missed it....:-p https://t.co/NGRaagMGDC
What an hypocrite!— Carles (@cnavasp) 26 of December 2017
What about catalan people?
Spain general attorney calling catalan independentists "abducted"; last october, the King attcking our government in a speech, taking side when he should be neutral and never heard a fucking supportive word from you about our rights! https://t.co/vAx8BCmAnb
Spain ? https://t.co/3ohWh69VyG— Garry Egan (@gazzahead) 25 of December 2017
For real?— Neil Hay (@Hay_NW) 25 of December 2017
Easy words again, applicable everywhere except Spain and if you're Catalan. https://t.co/xe5iP2qOp9
Yet you support the tyranny of Fascist Spain against the minority of Catalonia, and you refuse to accept the majority WITHIN that minority voted overwhelmingly for pro-indy parties! Force Rajoy to release ALL political prisoners and let the exiled Catalan Parliament back home! https://t.co/XN2vvdpQMC— April Thompson (@dishgirl4) 25 of December 2017
What is hard to understand is why the EU supports democracy in Poland (as it should) but not in Spain (as it should also). https://t.co/oYJH5L7C7S— Noctula Press (@noctulapress) 25 of December 2017
Anything to say about politicians in jail for months without trial? No, complete silence from you and the EU because it's in Spain not Poland https://t.co/k11Quhf9xr— Alan (@Guinness_Alan) 25 of December 2017