The EU must do its homework before criticising foreign countries

Raphael Tsavkko Garcia
4 min readNov 17, 2021

The EU has firm stances on democracy and freedom of expression when it comes to pressuring countries outside the union. Once the topic shifts towards internal EU affairs, things get a little complicated — to say the least.

Take Catalonia for instance.

The EU speaks loudly and clumsy against Russia and its horrifying human rights records, often raises its tone when speaking with China and it’s not uncommon to hear cries from citizens and pundits that the EU must take a tougher stance against several foreign nations due to human rights abuses.

However, the European Parliament has recently stripped three Catalan MEP’s of their immunities to allow them being persecuted by Spain. Or rather to allow Spain to, once again, resume persecuting democratically elected officials whose crime was allowing the Catalan people vote for self-determination.

Spain has recently sent a rapper, Pablo Hasél, to jail because he dared to sing against the monarchy and the status quo. You don’t have to like his songs or even agree with his lyrics that are tailored to be provocative and hit a nerve, but you cannot silence him and send him to jail for expressing uncomfortable ideas. Another rapper, Valtonyc, is also being persecuted in Spain and sought exile in Belgium.

Several Catalan activists all over Europe have been spied on by the Spanish secret service for years, including former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who was then arrested based on information provided by the illegal espionage scheme. Puigdemont has been a vocal critic of Spain’s treatment towards Catalan activists and he’s one of the MEP’s who just lost his immunity — along with Clara Ponsatì and Toni Comin.

Living in exile in Belgium, he has been battling for his freedom in courts and achieving successive victories.

Spain has for decades blatantly violated the human rights of its population and especially its national minorities, in particular Basques and Catalans. The so-called “transition” after the death of dictator Francisco Franco has never been fully completed. To say the least.

There is no reports of another European democracy that has ordered the closure of newspapers and has imprisoned…

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Raphael Tsavkko Garcia

Journalist, PhD in Human Rights (University of Deusto). MA in Communication Sciences, BA in International Relations. www.tsavkko.com.br