Interior Minister to decorate former Spanish government representative to Catalonia

Enric Millo was the highest-ranking official during Madrid’s direct rule and on October 1, the day of the independence referendum marred by police violence

Enric Millo, the former Spanish government representative to Catalonia on 1 October 2017 and highest-ranking Spanish authority in Catalonia during the application of direct rule, will receive the Great Silver Cross for Civil Merit from the Guardia Civil. The proposal was made by the Mariano Rajoy administration and will be signed off by Fernando Grande-Marlaska, the current Socialist Interior Minister, before the celebration of the Corps’ honorary day on October 12.

Along with Millo’s decoration, there other high Spanish office-holders in Catalonia will also be recognised, including all of the representatives and deputies appointed by the Rajoy government. Sources close to the Spanish minister have stated that they did not want to be "sectarian" and have authorized a process initiated by the Rajoy government. The medal will not be accompanied by any economic remuneration.

Coinciding with the anniversary of October 1 (1-O), Millo reaffirmed to ARA that "the police acted proportionally" during their actions one year ago. In an interview, he again blamed Carles Puigdemont, ex-President of the Generalitat, and his government for everything that happened that day.

Cleries: "They're decorating him for every truncheon blow"

Marlaska appeared on Tuesday before the Senate’s Interior Committee, where PDeCAT spokesman Josep Lluís Cleries questioned him over Millo’s recognition. "Are you decorating him for every truncheon blow we took on 1-O?," asked Cleries ironically. The Catalan senator said that he does not see “any change of behavior" between the PSOE and PP governments if Millo is decorated. "On 1-O we were assaulted by violence from the State and we hoped that his ministry will hold those responsible to account, but now the government’s representative at the time is being decorated," said Cleries, who added that this award can be understood as an "insult".

In his response to Cleries the Spanish minster justified the medal because it is a proposal from the previous administration and he does not want to be sectarian. "I do not like being sectarian, and if I have the proposals and there is nothing very specific that changes the possibility of understanding this decoration as appropriate I will not withdraw it," he said. He specified that it is a recognition of his public life "whether or not you agree with his actions in their entirety".