In English Voices From Spain

Either racists or Europeans

Photo by Evelyn Bertrand on Unsplash

Originally published in Spanish. “O racistas o europeos”. Carlos Yárnoz. El País.

18th May 2018

The election of a racist president makes the Catalan regional government the antithesis of the values held by the EU, that club that was to welcome the illusory republic with open arms according to the secessionists’ lies. The Catalonia now led by xenophobe Quim Torra would never be admitted to Europe, where the defence of human dignity, democracy, equality and non-discrimination are required.

At a time when Brussels is proposing sanctions to Víktor Orban’s Hungary or Andrzej Duda’s Poland for their extremist, xenophobic policies, Torra’s emergence makes these leaders pale in comparison like newbie hardliners. Claims that speakers of Spanish in Catalonia are ‘beasts in human form spewing hate’ with ‘a rough patch in their DNA’ have shocked historians like Frenchman Benoît Pellistrandi, who has written in Le Monde of the connections between Torra’s nationalism and ‘Milosevic’s Yugoslavia or Mussolini’s Italy’.

Even neo-Fascist Marine Le Pen doesn’t want such open racists on her electoral lists, which she cleansed in 2015 of candidates who had written xenophobic tweets. By contrast, nationalists MPs in Catalonia’s parliament have chosen to reward the fanatic by making him the new Most Honourable Sir.

Torra’s Catalonia wouldn’t make it through the first filter as an EU candidate country, because aspiring members must comply with Article 2 of the Treaty: ‘Respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law (…) in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail’. Neither Torra nor those who have voted him in must have read this article. Nor do they seem familiar with Article 21 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, of equal legal force, which prohibits ‘any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion’.

Or perhaps they actually have read them, and that’s why they no longer insist that their dream republic would be in the EU. Some of these extremists are familiar with Article 7 of the Treaty, designed to sanction states in which there is ‘a clear risk of a serious breach by a Member State of the values referred to in Article 2’. If their fantasy republic were in the EU, Brussels would be considering applying this article as we speak.

Catalans are the first victims. With their eyes set on Brussels, many must be attributing to Torra the famous line by Groucho Marx: ‘I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.’

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