Friday, September 25, 2015

Catalan Government Calls For Investigation Into Double Juncker Reply With EC Position On Secession

The Catalan government called for the European Commission to investigate a reply by Jean Claude Juncker to Popular Party MEP Santiago Fisas that was published with two significantly different versions in English and Spanish.

The Spanish version contained an extra third paragraph that was not present in the original English version, and that extra third paragraph in Spanish, published in the name of Jean Claude Juncker, contained statements on national identity, territorial integrity and constitutional law, all key to the Catalan election campaign and the question of Catalonia's secession from Spain.

The publication of two different versions in English and Spanish was "very worrying", said the Catalan government statement: "given they come after different recent attempts to instrumentalise the European Union during the election campaign".

Natasha Bertaud, Coordinating Spokesperson for Mr. Juncker, told The Spain Report in an e-mail reply that: "The answer to the question is given in the English version of the answer to the Parliamentary Question. The English version is the one agreed to by President Juncker".

That means someone, who the Commission is not naming, published a politically sensitive unauthorised reply to a parliamentary question in President Juncker's name in the middle of an election campaign in the region in question.

The English reply reads: "It is not for the Commission to express a position on questions of internal organisation related to the constitutional arrangements of a particular Member State. The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answer to written question P-009058/2014".

The original Spanish version was more than twice as long as the English version and ended with the phrase: "The determination of the territory of a member state is only established by national constitutional law, and not by a decision of a regional parliament contrary to the constitution of that state".


That version was corrected by the European Commission on Wednesday evening.

"In addition", said Ms. Bertaud: "President Juncker’s Chief Spokesperson made clear the position of the Commission – as it stands since Commission President Prodi – in the Commission press room on 17 September."

Chief Spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said on September 17 that: "If part of a member state ceases to be part of that state, because of the territory becoming an independent state, the (EU treaties) would no longer apply to that territory".

Asked if the Commission was going to open an investigation into what had happened, given the content and political context of the extra paragraph in the Spanish version, Ms. Bertaud said: "We are enquiring. But human error [is] not unheard of".

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