We, ELEN, the European Language Equality Network, do not take a political position for or against the independence of Catalonia. That’s not within our remit. We hold, though, an unequivocal position in favour of European values and democracy. Our role is to represent the 55 million lesser-used language speakers of Europe. Many of them have experienced contempt and social discrimination simply because they are speakers of lesser-used languages. All of them know that only with the utmost respect for democratic values and civil rights is co-existence possible.

The Spanish Government has already crossed too many red lines that should never be broken in a democracy. The rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and even privacy of communications are suspended right now in Catalonia. Democratically elected Mayors have been summoned to courts just because they have agreed to make it possible for their citizens to exercise their right to vote on their own future. Officials of the Catalan Government have been arrested. In a clear violation of the constitution that they claim to defend, the finances of the Catalan Government have been seized by the Spanish Government so that they are not even able to pay for the services needed in order to cater for people’s basic needs.

That’s not what is meant to happen in a real democracy. That’s what happens under a dictatorship.

ELEN calls on the Kingdom of Spain to immediately cease impeding the exercise of civil and political rights in Catalonia, to ensure compliance with the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, the European Convention of Human Rights, and the UN Charter, binding treaties that have been ratified by Spain.

In addition, ELEN calls on the EU to make good on its claim as the ‘Guardian of the Treaties’ to make a clear statement to Spain that it must uphold these inalienable human rights that are enshrined in European law or face the consequences – EU sanctions for contravening fundamental rights and European rule of law.

Furthermore, ELEN backs the call from the Catalan Government for constructive dialogue, without preconditions, between it and the Kingdom of Spain, and we reaffirm our allegiance to the democratic process with our support for the October 1st referendum to consult Catalan citizens about their future.

Ferran Suay, ELEN President.

ELEN Statement video