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EU socialists slam EPP’s ‘silence’ over Spanish far-right attacks

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EU socialists are “appalled” by the centre-right European People’s Party’s silence in the face of attacks by their partner, Spanish far-right party Vox, against socialist offices in Spain and Brussels, the secretary-general of the Party of European Socialists (PES) said on Thursday. 

Spanish socialists, the PSOE, denounced an attack on their headquarters in Brussels on 10 November, which came after multiple vandalism acts against socialist offices across Spain. 

The attacks followed days of intense protests against Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, called for by far-right Vox (ECR) and centre-right Partido Popular (EPP), which on several occasions ended up with police intervention. 

“What was striking for me is to see Spanish PP, which is a qualified member of the EPP family, that is hand-in-hand with Abascal and Vox, who are storming headquarters of our political parties, not only in Madrid but even here in Brussels”, Giacomo Filibeck said during an event at Euractiv on Thursday (30 November). 

The socialists have long blamed Spain’s centre-right for allying with the far-right, starting with regional and municipal governmental coalitions in May.

“Friends, if anybody would ever come to break a window in the EPP headquarters or even in the ECR headquarters (…), I would be the first one to comment expressing solidarity”, Filibeck said, adding that instead of solidarity, the socialists only saw “silence”. 

In response, EPP secretary-general Thanasis Bakolas demanded answers from Fillibeck regarding Spanish socialists’ controversial amnesty law deal with Catalan separatists, which helped Sánchez secure a ruling majority and a second mandate as prime minister. 

Bakolas also blamed the socialists for applying double standards, reprimanding the Slovak and Bulgarian party members while, in his words, letting Sánchez undermine Spain’s rule of law. 

“In Spain, we have a fundamental democratic subversion taking place when a major party sells votes and quid pro quo to stay in power. That is something you need to answer,” Bakolas told Filibeck. 

In exchange for support to form a government, Sánchez signed a deal with the Catalan independentist party Junts on 13 May, which included an amnesty law pardoning all people involved in the 2017 independence referendum.

Opposition parties PP, Vox, and Ciudadanos have criticised the deal, saying it undermined Spain’s rule of law and the constitution. 

Their European counterparts – EPP, ECR, and the liberal centrist Renew – have internationalized the issue by raising concerns over the amnesty law in the European Parliament and pressuring the Commission to intervene.

The European Commission announced on Thursday (30 November) that the amnesty law is being reviewed, hours after Spanish Justice Minister Felix Bolaños said that the Commission had “zero worries”, following his meetings with Justice Commissioner Didier Reynder and Commissioner for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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