By John Ensor •
Published: 07 Feb 2024 • 18:21
Former President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont in 2018.
Credit: Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock.com
The Russian Federation has been accused of interference in Western politics for some years now, the latest development implicates the Catalan independence movement.
On Thursday, February 8, the European Parliament is set to voice its concerns over Russian meddling during Catalonia’s separatist movement.
The resolution, backed by a majority, will urge Spain to look into the connections between Catalan separatists and Moscow. This follows judicial instructions indicating that Carles Puigdemont’s allies forged ties with ex-Russian diplomats amid the controversial 2017 independence bid.
The European Parliament expresses ‘deep concern’ over the ‘alleged relations between the Catalan secessionists and the Russian administration,’ the resolution reads, highlighting fears that such interference is part of Russia’s wider strategy to sow discord within the EU and generate further destabilisation.
This includes ‘massive disinformation campaigns in Catalonia’ and ‘alleged deep contacts’ between Russian agents and the independence movement.
The document calls on judicial bodies to ‘effectively investigate the connections of members of the European Parliament allegedly associated with the Kremlin and Russia’s attempts at destabilisation and interference in the EU.’
This veiled reference points to the former Catalan president and current MEP, without naming him directly. It also criticises attacks against judges investigating ties between Catalan separatism and Russian intelligence.
Margaritis Schinas, Vice President of the European Commission, underscored the importance of internal investigation into Russian interference.
He echoed concerns over ‘close and regular contacts’ between Catalan secessionists and Russian officials from 2017 to 2020. ‘It is the duty of this house to investigate who did what, under what conditions, to play Moscow’s game,’ Schinas insisted.
The resolution doesn’t stop at Catalonia. It also accuses other European parties of collusion with Russian espionage, citing financial backing from Moscow to France’s National Front, Italy’s Lega led by Matteo Salvini, and Austria’s far-right FPO.
Furthermore, an individual linked to Germany’s Alternative for Germany party and a German Bundestag deputy was identified as a Russian FSB contact.
This bold move by the European Parliament not only highlights the gravity of foreign interference in democratic processes but also signals a collective resolve to safeguard the integrity of European democracies.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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