Víctor Recacha, 1 June 2023
Puigdemont, Comín and Ponsatí at the European Parliament / EP
European Parliament orders investigation into the Russian ‘procés’ plot
The European Parliament has approved the report that calls for an investigation into the Russian plot of the procés. After receiving the green light from the Foreign Interference Committee, the resolution for the European Union to examine the Kremlin’s interference in Catalan politics was backed on Thursday by an overwhelming majority of 469 votes, compared to 71 who voted against and 75 who abstained. It was backed, among others, by the PP (EPP), PSOE (S&D) and Ciudadanos (Renew Europe) groups.
The adopted text “reiterates concern at revelations of massive Russian funding of political parties, politicians and former politicians and public officials in a number of democratic countries in an attempt to interfere and influence their domestic processes”. It also “expresses concern” about “Russia’s connections with various political parties and politicians in the European Union and its extensive interference with secessionist movements in European and EU territories, such as Catalonia”.
Sanctions against destabilisers
The motion urges the competent authorities to “carry out a thorough investigation” and proposes that the European Centre of Excellence against Hybrid Threats, located in Helsinki, be the body in charge of “studying this specific case”, in reference to the Russian plot of Catalan independence. The EU is thus putting itself on alert in the face of the widespread Russian presence in separatist movements in Europe.
It has also called for greater transparency in dealing with scandals such as Qatargate, the alleged Qatar-Morocco bribery scheme in the European Parliament to gain influence in European politics. In the report, which focuses on disinformation and foreign interference in democratic processes in the EU, MEPs recommend increasing the cost of foreign interference by applying sanctions to be developed in EU policy guidelines.
Russian agents in Barcelona
According to PP MEP Javier Zarzalejos, the report proves the connection between the Kremlin and Catalan independence. “Wherever there is a crisis, there will be those interested in setting it on fire, as happened during the illegal secessionist process in Catalonia, which had the support and accompaniment of Russian agents”, he said.
From Ciudadanos, Maite Pagazaurtundua said that Moroccan or Russian interference in Spain “is not a surprise to anyone” in the European Parliament and called for laws at a European level so that Europe can defend itself. “The fact is that they are going to attack us”, she stressed.