SPANISH president Pedro Sánchez has been invited to join the parade in Paris for the July 14 celebrations, known as 'Bastille Day'. Referred to by the French simply by the date – Bastille Day is one of the...
Spain denies 'spying' on UK-based Catalunya working party group
By thinkSPAIN Team Thu, Jul 11, 2019
PLAID Cymru MP Hywel Williams has accused the Spanish government of 'spying' on meetings held by an 'informal' cross-party group in the UK set up to discuss Catalunya, Spain's north-eastern region which held a disputed independence referendum on October 1, 2017, leading to several of its politicians being jailed.
Williams, of the Welsh national party, is chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Catalunya, whilst its vice-chairs are Douglas Chapman of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Roger Godsiff (Labour), Baroness Garden of Frognal and Lord Rennard (Liberal Democrats), and Baroness Hooper and Andrew Rosindell (Conservatives).
He claims the Spanish State 'carried out a covert vigilance' of the APPG and that documentary evidence of this was sent by the government of Spain to the regional High Court of Justice in Catalunya to 'justify the closure of Catalán embassies abroad'.
Catalunya's regional government also claims information supplied to the court by the State Law Service in Spain in the name of the ministry of foreign affairs was obtained through similar 'covert vigilance' processes.
Williams says the documents now held by the High Court of Justice in Catalunya 'allude to various meetings' of the APPG 'including one in which Josep Costa, deputy president of the Catalunya government, was speaking'.
The Welsh MP says all meetings the APPG held were 'public' and that there was 'no need for anyone to hide their identity' if they wished to form part of them or listen in.
Documents mention Welsh regional MP Elin Jones and Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon (SNP), and 'many others'.
They also, according to Williams, state House of Commons speaker and former Conservative member John Bercow had 'not been impartial' when responding to a question Williams posed to him on February 13 about the former Catalunya Parliamentary chairwoman Carme Forcadell's being imprisoned.
The APPG was set up 'on an informal basis' to 'develop links between MPs in the UK and in Catalunya', Williams explains.
Catalunya's High Court of Justice is expected to pass a verdict in the next few days to Spain's foreign office's request for all activities in 'Catalán embassies' allegedly set up in several European cities to be suspended.
Spain's foreign affairs minister Josep Borrell – who is in fact from Catalunya – has refuted these claims.
“Neither does Catalunya have embassies, nor does our foreign office have spies,” Borrell insists.
He concedes that his ministry is, however, 'required' to 'closely monitor' any activity that could 'harm Spain's reputation' and 'any attempt by the government of Catalunya' to 'push its independence project forward'.
“Catalunya does not have embassies, because only nation States have embassies,” he stressed.
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