“The exterior ship of the Catalan government sets sail today.” This is how the Catalan foreign affairs minister, Ernest Maragall, explained the reopening of six government offices abroad agreed on Tuesday by the cabinet. The previous Spanish executive closed them all save one on October 27, 2017, when it implemented direct rule in the country.
In a press conference after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Maragall confirmed that delegations in Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, France and the United States of America are up and running again. According to him, in the coming weeks other offices will be reopened in the Scandinavian countries, Portugal and the Balkans.
“Within six months,” other offices are expected to be working in other regions such as the Magreb and Asia. Thus by the end of the year, the Catalan government will have more delegations abroad than when Spain shut them all but one down last October.
Brussels was the only delegation which was not closed. Yet its head, Amadeu Altafaj, was deposed. On Tuesday the Catalan cabinet also agreed to appoint Meritxell Serret, one of the exiled deposed Catalan ministers involved in the independence judicial case, as head of the office in the EU capital.
Maragall said that “representation, presence and influence” will be three of the main aims of the delegations, along with the “recovery of democracy and freedom in Catalonia and a steady progress towards the Catalan Republic.” The minister also expressed willingness of his government through the delegations to contribute to the major debates going on in Europe such as the refugee crisis, the future of the Eurozone and sustainability.
Apart from Serret, the Catalan affairs chief announced the appointment of the delegates Manuel Manonelles (Switzerland), Sergi Marcén (UK), Luca Bellizzi (Rome) and Marie Kapretz (Germany.) All of them will be reinstated to the posts they were stripped of on October 27, 2017. Martí Anglada, the former France delegate, will be head of the Scandinavia office in Stockholm once it reopens.
Upcoming trips by Torra
Maragall also explained that the Catalan president, Quim Torra, is on his way to Washington for the opening of the Smithsonian festival, and will be in Stuttgart next week for a meeting of the Four Motors of Europe industrialised regions group. In mid-July he will be in New York to take part in a meeting on sustainable development.
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