Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has criticized the European Union for being guilty of “double standards and hypocrisy” after it rejected the Catalan referendum while acknowledging Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia.
"The question every citizen of Serbia has for the European Union today is: how come that in the case of Catalonia the referendum on independence is not valid, while in the case of Kosovo secession is allowed even without a referendum," Vucic asked during a news conference in Belgrade.
“How did you proclaim the secession of Kosovo to be legal, even without a referendum, and how did 22 European Union countries legalize this secession, while destroying European law and the foundations of European law, on which the European policy and EU policy are based?” the state head added.
"So, how come Catalonia cannot, and Kosovo can - there will never be an answer on this given to the Serbs ... this is the best example of the double standards and hypocrisy of world politics."
Other ministers from Europe echoed these sentiments, condemning violence and expressing support for a quick, peaceful solution.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said “violence can never be the answer,” while Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar expressed his concern over the government’s behavior. Poland’s Foreign Ministry washed its hands of the whole matter, saying the Catalonia’s future is an “internal matter” and that they respect the “principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and the unity of the Kingdom of Spain.”
According to the regional Catalan government, some 844 people have been injured in disturbances across Catalonia since Sunday.
As Spanish police wielded batons and fired rubber bullets at crowds attempting to vote in Catalonia's banned independence referendum, the region's own police force gave many voters a much gentler reception.
Catalan representative Ramona Barrufet said that two people are in critical condition, one of whom is likely to not survive their injuries, RPP reported.
Shocking images and videos of police repression have been shared across social media platforms with users condemning the excessive use of force.
U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said he was “very disturbed” by the violence Sunday and reprimanded police, saying their response should always “be proportionate and necessary” and added that any disagreements ought to be resolved via political dialogue.
The U.N. Commissioner has requested that Madrid accept “without delay” two U.N. minority rights investigators entrance into Spain and Catalonia. According to the Human Rights office, the pair of officials had attempted to visit the country prior to the eruption of violence this weekend without avail.
The European Commission called on Spain to hold a political dialogue with Catalonian officials Monday.
“We urge all relevant actors to move quickly from confrontation to dialogue. Violence can never be an instrument in politics," European Commission spokeswoman Margaritis Schinas told reporters following a call for dialogue with Catalonia.
According to Schinas, the Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will speak Monday.