On the first day of the new parliamentary term, EFA MEPs supported the right of Catalan MEPs to take their seats in the European Parliament.
More than 10,000 people gathered in a peaceful demonstration outside the European Parliament. They called for Catalans elected at the recent European election to be allowed to take up their seats.
Spanish authorities are preventing three new MEPs from completing the relevant formalities.
Amongst those elected is Oriol Junqueras who is a member of the European Free Alliance Group. He is in pre-trial detention for having organzed a self-determination referendum in Catalonia.
Oriol Junqueras' seat in the parliament's hemicycle was left empty.
President of the EFA Group in the European Parliament, Alyn Smith MEP (SNP) said:
"The situation facing our group colleague Oriol Junqueras and his fellow Catalan politicians Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comin is appalling.
"I am always at pains to stress that Scotland is Scotland and Catalonia is Catalonia, but the EU is surely about democracy and dialogue, where the actions of Madrid are seeking to use ever more outrageous interpretations of the law to close dialogue down.
"We were proud to show our support for their taking up their mandates. Where Mr Puigdemont and Comin have expressed a desire to join our group if they can take up their mandates, obviously we cannot deal with this until they are.
"We will be taking forward the energy of today’s demonstration by writing to the new European Parliament President - whoever he or she may be - to raise their cases with Madrid urgently."
Catalan MEP Diana Riba – elected alongside Oriol Junqueras – said:
"The European Parliament today lacks legitimacy without three MEPs elected by over two million Catalans.
"They have been democratically elected and it is their right to be here."