"Juncker can’t stay on if he remains silent”

Up until now the European Union has remained silent about Sunday’s violence in Barcelona. More than 800 people were injured as Spanish police tried to prevent a voting in a referendum on Catalan independence from taking place. A couple of dozen Spanish police officers are also reported to have been injured. The violence has been condemned by politicians here in Flanders and in other counties and regions elsewhere in Europe.

However, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has remained silent.

The Flemish Green MEP Bart Staes (photo, above) told VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’ that it is incomprehensible that the EU has maintained radio silence about Sunday’s violence.

"We are always ready to condemn misconduct in other parts of the world, but we are reticent when it occurs in one of our own member states”.

Mr Staes added that what happened in Catalonia will be the subject of questions during this week’s plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

"We will be travelling to Strasbourg later. We are going to request a debate on Catalonia and call the Commission to account”.

"As the European Union we have a number of basic values, values that were clearly violated yesterday”.

Mr Staes went on to predict that this is only the start of events in Catalonia.

"The Catalans are going to declare independence in the Catalan Parliament on Wednesday. This is the start of a process that will lead to dialogue with the Spanish Government without violence and like adults.”

Mr Staes feels that Europa should act. "The European Commission should appoint someone with a lot of moral authority to act as arbitrator”.

Mr Staes added that the European Commission should respond today.

"If the Commission remains lacking today, it is my view that he (Jean-Claude Juncker, small photo) cannot remain”, Mr Staes said.

The green MEP’s words are the same as comments made of the Flemish nationalist MEP Sander Loones on Sunday.