Romeva tells consular corps: “It’s impossible until someone does it”
Foreign affairs minister praises country’s willingness for reinvention at Priorat meeting with foreign diplomats
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Institutional Relations and Transparency Raül Romeva visited the Cartoixa d'Escaladei in Priorat’s Morera de Montsant on Monday, telling the consular corps that innovation and a willingness for reinvention are what distinguish the region. While Romeva made no explicit reference to the independence referendum, he used Priorat’s adoption of terraced vineyards as an example of overcoming what was considered “impossible until someone did it.”
Addressing a score of consuls, Romeva also made reference to the destruction caused by the phylloxera bug plague. “When history presents situations that destroy opportunity itself, communities have two options: self-reinvention or emigration. Here they decided to reinvent themselves,” said the minister, who added that “this illustrates the character of the region very well.” Catalonia is defying the Spanish government by calling an independence referendum on October 1. Madrid refuses to allow the vote and is vowing to stop it by "all means" necessary.
Meeting of diplomats
According to Romeva, the Priorat visit by the consular corps not only helps to strengthen the links between his ministry and the corps, but also to spotlight “the country’s uniqueness.” In a brief speech given in Spanish, the minister pointed out that the consuls had not chosen the Cartoixa d'Escaladei "by accident" but for reasons such as its landscape and wine culture, so closely linked to innovation.
Romeva pointed out that Priorat began growing vines on terraces when such a thing was thought "impossible" until "someone did it and people realised its value and that it yielded a product of a different quality than that made on flat ground". Someone dared to do it," he said. He also highlighted the "spiritual value" of the Cartoixa, a place "to find oneself and gain knowledge."
Finally, the minister pointed out that Priorat has been forced to reinvent itself "at moments in history that, in some way, destroy opportunity itself." This situation, Romeva insisted, opens up two possibilities: either emigrating or reinventing oneself. "Here they decided to reinvent themselves despite the phylloxera, which was a disaster of huge dimensions, and this willingness came from the people’s desire to continue living and working here," albeit "with help from abroad," he admitted.
Romeva said the Catalan government intends to "continue reinforcing the awareness and the international projection" of Priorat, which is bidding for its landscape to be designated as World Heritage by Unesco. “Local authorities, the county council and the Catalan government are dedicated to making it not only Catalan heritage, but universal,” he said.
Taking part in the meeting was the Mayor of Morera de Montsant Meritxell Martorell, the President of the Priorat County Council Joan Carles Garcia and Franca Lorella Deza, Chair of the Barcelona Consular Corps, as well as Lluís Puig, managing director of the cultural association, Cultura Popular, Associacionisme i Acció Culturals.