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Catalan Government wants to have a network of “about 50 delegations” abroad in “a few years”

The Catalan Government’s Deputy Minister for External Affairs, Roger Albinyana, announced the Executive’s aim to have a network of “about 50 delegations” throughout the world, representing Catalonia’s political, business and cultural interests abroad. The Catalan Government currently has 7 delegations abroad, after the new representations in Rome and Vienna start to work on Monday, when the representatives were appointed. The 5 others are located in Brussels, London, Paris, Berlin and Washington. In the coming “months and years”, the Catalan Government will continue to open new delegations. Regardless of the hypothetical independence from Spain, the Catalan Executive already has the powers to have its own External Action policy, recognised by the Catalan Statute of Autonomy from 2006, although with many limitations.

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02 February 2015 10:51 PM

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ACN

Barceona (ACN).- The Catalan Government’s Deputy Minister for External Affairs, Roger Albinyana, announced the Executive’s aim to have a network of “about 50 delegations” throughout the world, representing Catalonia’s political, business and cultural interests abroad. The Catalan Government currently has 7 delegations abroad, after the new representations in Rome and Vienna started to work on Monday, when the representatives were appointed. The 5 others are located in Brussels, London, Paris, Berlin and Washington. In the coming “months and years”, the Catalan Government will continue to open new delegations. Regardless of the hypothetical independence from Spain, the Catalan Executive already has the powers to have its own External Action policy, recognised by the Catalan Statute of Autonomy from 2006, although with many limitations. Furthermore, the Catalan Parliament approved the External Action Law, which develops self-rule powers in this area. On top of this, the Catalan Government has upgraded the post of Brussels Delegate to Permanent Representative to the European Union, an office held by Amadeu Altafaj, who used to be the European Commission’s Spokesperson for Economic and Monetary Affairs during the worst years of the Eurozone crisis.


In the current political debate about independence from Spain, recognition of the claims and views shared by a majority of Catalans on the part of the international community and the European Union institutions and Member State governments is a high priority, particularly taking into account the strong opposition from the Spanish authorities and their permanent aim of hiding Catalonia’s centuries old cultural, historical and political specificities.

Furthermore, after years of economic crisis and with a nascent economic recovery, Catalan companies and cultural industries need a boost to access new markets and audiences. The Catalan delegations will offer political support to the network of 34 commercial offices throughout the world already run by the Catalan Government, which support companies and attract foreign investment. Furthermore, they will also work to promote Catalan culture and tourist attractions. In fact, Catalonia has been leading exports, the attraction of industrial foreign investment, and the tourist industry in Spain.

The new delegates will have to work on building a direct dialogue with the authorities of the countries where they are located. Furthermore, they will be in charge of defending Catalan interests in the area. Luca Bellizzi, PhD in political science and with experience in Northern Italy’s private sector, will lead the delegation in Rome. Adam Casals, who has worked with many central European think tanks such as the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, will take charge of relations with Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary.

Deputy Minister Albinyana praised Denmark’s model of single embassies in charge of several countries. According to him, Catalonia is aiming to have a similar model, rejecting the objective of being present in each and every country worldwide. 

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  • The Catalan Government's new delegates in Rome (left) and Vienna (right) next to Roger Albinyana (second in the left) (by Presidencia / ACN)

  • The Catalan Government's new delegates in Rome (left) and Vienna (right) next to Roger Albinyana (second in the left) (by Presidencia / ACN)