Statement by the Chairman of the SOC Group in Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Frank Schwabe
Current developments in Spain consistent with the resolution of PACE

“Spain has every right to keep the country as a unified state. However, disputes about the future of the country must take place in forms as moderate as possible. Draconian punishments are not one of them.
Therefore, the decision of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe calls for moderation and pardoning or otherwise release. This is in line with the pardon announced by the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez for nine Catalan separatists. It also calls for a solution to be found for politicians who are currently living abroad.

The Assembly affirms that Spain is an old living and vibrant democracy with a culture of free and open public debate. The current Spanish government shows that it is acting following these principles. In addition to the current solution to the pending cases, a comprehensive reform is required to reform the criminal provisions on rebellion and sedition in such a way that they cannot be led to disproportionate sanctions for non-violent transgressions.

In line with the adopted report, I ask, welcome und support the Spanish authorities to enter into an open, constructive dialogue with all political forces in Catalonia, including those opposing independence, in order to strengthen the quality of Spanish democracy, and reach a compromise that enables Spain, a strong European democracy, to settle political differences, including on sensitive issues, through the authority of the rule of law, good governance and total respect of human rights, without recourse to criminal law, but in full respect of the constitutional order of Spain.

Spain is on the right track with the current Government. Pedro Sánchez has started to find a political solution and has started the path to reconciliation. “