As happened in 2021, 2022 and 2023, the voloh case and the relations between the Catalan independence movement and the Kremlin returned to the European Parliament this Tuesday. In Strasbourg, and just a few days after the judge decided to extend the investigation in Spain, but also after a group of international journalists revealed that the Latvian MEP Tatiana Danokaa partner in the battles of Waterloo sovereignty, has been in the pay of Russian intelligence for years, the plenary session of the Eurochamber has hosted a debate on the “Russiagate and allegations of Russian interference in the democratic processes of the European Union.”
Today the leading role has been played by the community vice president Margaritis Schinas, responsible for the Promotion of the European Way of Life portfolio and the commissioner who knows our country best and most closely. Member of the EPP, former spokesperson for Jean-Claude Juncker and married to a Spanish woman, he was on target during the most intense years of the procs. In his initial intervention before the deputies, Schinas has directly addressed the links between the environment of Puigdemont and the Kremlin. He, the European Commission, does not have additional data, nor his own information, but has referred to the published and already public news, to what is known about the voloh case and Moscow’s attempts to create chaos by supporting, financing or incentivizing any activity that could destabilize the Union. Of the brexit to the yellow vests through Catalan secessionism. There is evident concern about the ramifications and interest in knowing what was done, how far it went, who was involved and if there is a risk of it happening again.
“Our democracy is strong and resilient, but we are aware of the attempted interference of Russia and other authoritarian forces. We now know everything that has been said about the regular and close contacts, including organized visits, between Russian officials and representatives of Catalan secessionism between 2017 and 2020,” said the Greek politician. “Of course, the recent allegations that a member of this house could be working for the Russian security services are very worrying, but I believe it is the duty of this house to investigate who else did what and under what conditions to play the game of Moscow,” he added.
Its language may attract attention, but it is exactly what is stated in the latest report from the European Chamber itself on disinformation and foreign interference in the European Union. An almost verbatim quote. The Eurochamber has no investigative capabilities, it has neither the mandate nor the means. But it is to expose, denounce, make visible a more than delicate issue, especially when there are barely four months left until the European elections. And Vice President Schinas fits into that framework, aware of how far he could go, but also of what he could not omit.
A matter that comes from afar
In recent years there have already been other debates, resolutions, requests for independent investigations, to clarify the links between Puigdemont and Russia. In 2021, even, Puigdemont ended up voting in favor of investigating himself after a bizarre situation due to a document prepared by a Lithuanian, after the echo that an article by The New York Times in which the contacts between close collaborators of Puigdemont, including his lawyer, and different prominent figures in Russian espionage were documented.
In the debate, the Spanish deputies of the opposition, both from the PP and from Ciudadanos or Vox, have had a special role. But unlike what was seen in November, in a dispute over the situation or the rule of law, or in December, with the visit of the president Pedro Sanchez, on this occasion a majority of other nationalities and some first swords have participated, from both sides of the spectrum. A resolution will be voted on Thursday, no doubt with some very uncomfortable language for Puigdemont and his followers, and there was interest in every point. Even the deputy allegedly in Moscow’s pay for a decade has taken the microphone to defend herself against her, presenting herself as an “agent against fascism and for peace” who has not had much success.
On the Spanish side they have intervened Adrian Vazquez either Maite Pagazafrom Ciudadanos, who, addressing the absent Puigdemont, have assured that “collaborating with the Russian regime from his seat is not going to come for free.” Dolors Montserrat either Javier Zarzalejos by the PP, who have spoken of “shady connections, denounced that Sánchez wants to “amnesty Putin” or stressed that “the Russosphere is public enemy number one in Europe.” Also Hermann Tertsch of Vox, which has said that “Putin participated in the coup d’état” of 2017.
And, since Puigdemont was absent, Toni Comn, who has assured that “the Catalan independence movement has no link with Russia, but the other way around” and that what they defend is “a more integrated EU.” “Enough of defamation, of lawfare. Without impartial justice there is no democracy and the European project will be impossible,” he stated.
In the socialist ranks, only the former minister Juan Fernando López Aguilarpresident of the Justice and Civil Liberties commission, has taken the floor, criticizing that “attention is diverted” and the debate is not focused on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.