Estonian MEP Urmas Paet (Reform/ALDE) said on Monday that he is expecting a prompt and clear reaction from the Estonian government concerning the police violence that took place during Sunday's independence referendum in the Catalonia region of Spain.
"I would expect a clear stance from Estonia as the EU presidency concerning yesterday's police violence in Catalonia," Paet, a former longtime foreign minister of Estonia, said in a statement forwarded to the media. "In fact, I would have expected it yesterday already. Yet both the prime pinister and the foreign minister remain silent.
"Why the role of EU presidency for Estonia if we are trying to avoid a stance on a matter so important?" he continued. "The position of EU presidency entails responsibility in addition to honor."
Paet served as Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs from April 2005 to November 2014.
Altogether 90 percent of the people who voted in Sunday's referendum were in favor of independence of Catalonia from Spain, the Catalonian government said. About 42 percent of eligible voters took part in the referendum.
More than 800 people needed medical assistance as a result of clashes between pro-independence activists and police forces dispatched by the central Spanish government on Sunday.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said on Friday that Estonia considers the independence ambitions of Catalonia Spain's internal matter. "It is definitely an internal matter of Spain," Ratas said following the Tallinn Digital Summit.
A representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has previously told BNS that Estonia supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Spain.
"We are convinced that all internal matters will be solved in accordance with the laws of Spain," the spokesperson told BNS. "The bilateral relations of Estonia and Spain are strong — Spain is a close ally to Estonia in NATO and an important partner in the European Union."
Editor: Aili Vahtla