CATALONIA

Spanish ministry opposes Catalan plans for six foreign delegations

Foreign Minister Josep Borrell thinks their “clear and manifest goal” goes against the principles of Spanish diplomacy

Foreign minister Borrell with Catalan external action chief Maragall.
Foreign minister Borrell with Catalan external action chief Maragall.EFE

The Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministry opposes plans by the Catalan government to open up six new delegations abroad, because “their clear and manifest goal, stated repeatedly by the main authorities of the Generalitat [Catalan government], is to use these delegations to support ends that are manifestly contrary to the principles and goals of Spanish foreign policy.”

Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said on Friday that the ministry report is not binding. “I know they won’t pay any attention,” he told news organizations in Madrid moments before joining a panel discussion at Foro Iberoamericano.

Ernest Maragall, Catalan external action chief

But the government will appeal the opening of these centers if their activities violate the law, the minister added. An internal ministry document published by the Catalan newspaper El periódico de Catalunya states that these foreign delegations have been used in the past “as an essential tool to try to add an international dimension to the procès [the secession bid]” and “to undermine the international image of Spain.”

Ernest Maragall, the Catalan government’s external action chief, said that the Spanish government’s attitude confirms “the direct attack by the Foreign Affairs Ministry against Catalan external action.”

“They will not stop us. We already opened [a delegation] in Washington and the Generalitat will immediately approve the creation of six new delegations,” he tweeted.

In a release, the Spanish Foreign Ministry said that on October 17 the Catalan government informed it of its plans to open six new delegations in Vienna (Austria), Tallin (Estonia), Zagreb (Croatia), Lisbon (Portugal), Stockholm (Sweden) and Beirut (Lebanon), with the goal of having the Catalan government represented in Central Europe, the Baltics, the Balkans, Portugal, Scandinavia and the Eastern Mediterranean.

English version by Susana Urra.

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