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Catalonia to go ahead with offices abroad despite Spain's challenge

Foreign minister says appeal by Madrid is a "typical show of absurd and useless pride"

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24 August 2018 11:34 AM

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ACN | Barcelona

The Catalan government is determined to reopen its offices abroad that were closed during the recent period of direct rule from Madrid.

This is despite the new Spanish executive launching a high court challenge against Catalonia's decision on Thursday evening.

The Catalan foreign ministry said that the calendar to reopen and expand the network of offices around the world will continue as planned.

The head of the department, Ernest Maragall, wondered if the move by the Spanish government "is evidence of dialogue."

"Has the Spanish ministry nothing better to spend time and resources on than to launch stupid formal battles? It's a typical show of absurd and useless pride," he said via Twitter on Thursday evening.

  • "Has the Spanish ministry nothing better to spend time and resources on than to launch stupid formal battles? It's a typical show of absurd and useless pride"

    Ernest Maragall · Catalan foreign minister

"All our actions underway will go ahead without stopping any of them. We'll take our reasons to the courts or anywhere if necessary."

According to Maragall, "it is in the interest of the Catalan government that Catalonia is present in the world."

Spain's appeal

The Spanish executive justifies the appeal in Catalonia’s high court on the basis that the government has not followed the administrative procedures required by law.

Spanish law says that regions must formally communicate their intention to open representative offices and receive authorization from Madrid.

Yet Catalan officials claim they did inform Spain's foreign ministry by letter and in a meeting on July 23.

Reopening offices abroad

After the closure of all the offices abroad but one, the Catalan government reopened six of them, including in Switzerland, Germany, the UK, Italy, France and the USA. Others are expected to be relaunched in the near future, including Portugal, Scandinavia and the Balkans.

Maragall said in June that “within six months” other offices are expected to be working in other regions, such as the Maghreb and Asia. Thus, by the end of the year, the Catalan government will have more offices abroad than when the former Spanish government shut them all but one down last October.

Maragall also stated that closing the offices had cost 485,000 euros.

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  • Catalan foreign affairs minister Ernest Maragall (by ACN)

  • Catalan foreign affairs minister Ernest Maragall (by ACN)

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