Open Letter To 404 Members Of The European Parliament

To the 404 Members:

The European Parliament, of which you are a member, is the only body of the European Union elected by all citizens. You represent the will of the people and you represent me because you represent democracy. Without democracy, the European Union makes no sense. On March 8th the European Parliament voted “yes” to lifting the immunity of three of your colleagues: Ms. Clara Ponsatí, Mr. Toni Comín, and Mr. Carles Puigdemont. Of the 693 MEPs voting that day, 404 (58 percent) were in favour of the waiver, while 42 percent of MEPs voted “no,” or blank. The vote fell far short of the 95 percent affirmative vote that is customary in parliamentary immunity requests.

As you know very well, the Spanish Supreme Court requested the lifting of the immunity of your three Catalan colleagues because it wants to try them for having organised a referendum on October 1, 2017. Your vote on March 8th was by secret ballot and I assume that you, the 404 MEPs who voted “yes,” did what your conscience dictated. In relation to that, I have a personal story to share with you and a question about democracy.

My mother is 94 years old and gets around in a wheelchair. I live in Switzerland, but on October 1, 2017 I was in Barcelona, at her home, and I told her I would take her to the polling station. We were having breakfast when we watched in disbelief on live TV the attacks by the Spanish police on voters at the school where Carles Puigdemont, then president of Catalonia, was expected. After a while my sister, who was queuing at the polling station in our neighbourhood, phoned: “The police can come at any moment, they don’t respect anything or anyone, it’s dangerous, do not come, mother!” Despite what she had seen and the warnings, my mother asked me to take her to vote, and so I did. Seeing us arrive with the wheelchair, the neighbours queuing to vote stepped aside to let us in. Inside, my mother showed her ID card at the polling station and voted. It was the first ballot that went into that box. When we came out all the people waiting outside applauded her. I was very moved. My mother had done something profoundly democratic: she had voted despite threats and fear.

On the March 8th you voted, comfortably from a chair, that Clara Ponsatí, Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comin, MEPs like you, should be tried for allowing my mother to place a vote in a ballot box. Are you convinced that you supported true democracy with your vote?

Mara Montserrat Canela

Geneva, Switzerland


We don’t know how we came to be receiving these updates on issues relating to Catalonia, but we are grateful.

If, through some surreal turn of events, we unexpectedly were to find ourselves in Barcelona, we would hope to be able to meet your mother.

The Editor

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