Switzerland is prepared to act as a mediator in the Catalan-Spanish deadlock over the Catalan secession vote on October 1.
The Swiss foreign ministry has agreed to respond to arbitration requests from Catalonia, given that Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has refused to contact Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont. The Swiss foreign ministry is unable to give any details of its mediation plans in order to avoid facing partiality accusations by either of the two parties involved. Thus, all that the foreign ministry has stated is that “Switzerland is in contact with both parties, but the conditions for facilitation are not in place at this stage.”
Puigdemont has repeatedly called for international diplomacy measures in order to mediate the conflict between Catalonia and Spain. Just a day after the Spanish National Police and Civil Guard injured approximately 500 Catalans, who exercised their vote through the Catalan independence referendum, Puigemont stated that “it’s clear that an intermediary is necessary.”
On October 4 Puigdemont gave a televised interview in which he added that “[Catalans] would always have liked [the secession]process to have been driven by dialogue – there would not have been that police violence,” and that “[he is] available for a mediation process because peace, dialogue and negotiation are part of [Catalans’] political nature.”
In that same interview, Puigemont stated that the Catalan secession is no longer just a Spanish issue, but that “it is a European issue.” Thus, it was not only the Swiss, who have demonstrated their respectability and impartiality as mediators throughout history, who were asked to intervene in the issue, but other international bodies such as the European Parliament and the United Nations as well.
The European Parliament proposed that the European Union elect mediators to intercede between the Spanish and Catalan authorities. Likewise, the United Nations has taken action by authorizing the UN Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate the legality of the Catalan secession referendum.