‘Democracy in crisis, dialogue denied’, Belgian MEP Demesmaeker says of Catalonia

Prisoners, protests, and no clear pathway for a Catalan settlement. Carles Puigdemont, the self-exiled former president of Catalonia, is now held by German authorities on a European Arrest Warrant, his future uncertain.

If he returns to face trial in Spain, Puigdemont will head a growing list of Catalan politicians in pre-trial detention on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds.

One of the detained Catalans is Joaquim Forn, a lawyer and former Catalan interior minister. While in prison, Forn has struggled with tuberculosis and has been refused release despite illness and his pledge to abide by Spanish law.

EURACTIV reporter Brian Maguire spoke with Forn’s wife Laura Masvidal in the European Parliament, where she and Belgian MEP Mark Demesmaeker sought to raise awareness of the Catalan crisis and urged the EU institutions to insist on dialogue between Madrid and Barcelona.

Dememaeker is a member of the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), a party which openly seeks a secession of Flanders from Belgium and has actively supported Catalonia’s drive to break away from Madrid.

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