Four new delegations abroad of the Catalan Government will be added to the eight currently existing. This Tuesday the Catalan executive approved the creation of offices in Denmark, Poland, Croatia and Switzerland. Although the Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, admitted that the pace of enhancing the Catalan delegation network ‘depends on the budget for 2017’ he insisted that this doesn’t mean that ‘nothing can be done’. One of the offices will be located in Copenhagen and is set to cover the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland. The delegation to Poland will be based in Warsaw and the delegation in Zagreb aims to have influence in the Balkan area and in the near future in Greece, Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania. A fourth delegation is going to be opened in Geneva and focus on Switzerland, a country which has been covered so far by the Catalan delegation to France.
The aim of the delegation in Geneva is to reinforce Catalonia’s multilateral relationships and its connection with international organisations, since Switzerland is home to many of these institutions.
The Catalan Delegation to Croatia, based in Zagreb, aims to have influence on a much wider area, including Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and also other south-eastern European countries such as Greece, Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania. Indeed, Catalan exports to this area are worth 1.5 billion euros on average per year and imports reach 1 billion euros.
The delegation to Poland, based in Warsaw, will also serve the three Baltic states, in an area which has an increasing commercial relationship with Catalonia. According to data released by the Catalan executive, Catalan exports to this area are worth 1.3 billion euros per year on average and 1.6 billion euros in imports.
The office in Copenhagen will cover the countries in the Nordic Council, which are Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland. Catalan exports to this area are worth 940 million euros per year and 1.2 billion in terms of imports.
A network conditioned by the budget for 2017
Romeva insisted that the opening of these new delegations and a further enhancing of Catalonia’s delegations abroad ‘will have to be according to the pertinent allocation’ in the budget for 2017. A bill which will have to be negotiated and approved by the majority of the Parliament. Indeed, the budget proposal for 2016 couldn’t be passed because radical left pro-independence CUP didn’t find it satisfactory. Despite this deadlock, Romeva insisted on the need for Catalonia ‘to explain itself to the world’ so that the other actors ‘could receive the information and take a position in one way or another’. The Catalan Minister also defended the legitimacy of the Government’s foreign action, which has repeatedly being questioned by the Spanish Government.
Spanish Minister takes the Catalan political process before the Vatican
Romeva also referred to the meeting that Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García-Margallo, held this Monday with the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher. During the meeting, García-Margallo extended a letter to Gallagher explaining Spain’s position regarding Catalonia’s push for independence, which the Spanish Minister described as an aspiration ‘contrary to the Constitution and the International Treaties’. García-Margallo also warned that in the event that Catalonia would become independent ‘it would never become a state, since it wouldn’t be recognised by the United Nations’.
In relation to that, Romeva lamented that García-Margallo ‘didn’t serve as the Minister of all the Spaniards but that of a certain option’. ‘He is not only omitting but also confronting an important part of the country which have a democratic right’, he stated. ‘We keep on moving, we are willing to do so and we are certain that as long as we do it and do it right, we are unstoppable’, added Romeva.
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