The Lisbon Treaty states that the European Union is founded on a certain set of principles. These principles include 'respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities'. So where is the European Union for the people of Catalonia?
Spain has violated the Lisbon Treaty, and the silence of the EU, and other countries which pride themselves on democracy, is disgraceful.
Images from polling stations in Catalonian Spain look like scenes from a totalitarian dictatorship. The police, on the orders of Mariano Rajoy, are using needless violence to quash a democratic referendum process. Videos surfacing on social media and being circulated amongst the associated press show riot police smashing their way into polling stations and using violence to suppress voters.
The lack of condemnation from the EU is shocking in comparison to July, when Poland’s government planned reforms to the legal system. The EU threatened to invoke Article 7, meaning EU voting rights would be suspended for Poland. This, compared to the Spanish governments' violence against members of the population whose only wish is to vote, means Article 7 should be activated for Spain, as the country has clearly violated Article 2 of the Lisbon Treaty.
All citizens of all countries should have the right to participate in democratic processes and not feel threatened or suppressed. The silence from the EU and other countries is disgraceful. The EU prides itself on democracy, liberty and respect for human rights, and so should have been the first to condemn the violence. Yet they do not hesitate to make snide comments about Brexit proceedings. They should be ashamed. As they stand by, people are being beaten and voices of protest quashed. Spain has defied the principles enshrined in Article 2 and should face the full consequences.