Serret ready to push ‘interests of Catalans’ before EU institutions
Former minister and government representative in Brussels insists Catalonia has “plenty to offer” Europe
The Catalan government’s new representative in Brussels, Meritxell Serret, says she will work to “represent Catalonia and the interests of Catalans before European institutions.” Talking to the Catalan News Agency (ACN), the agriculture minister in the Puigdemont executive that was dismissed after October’s declaration of independence, says she is “eager to work, to make a contribution to the country and to move forward.”
Serret was appointed the Catalan government’s delegate to the European Union in June by the new president, Quim Torra, after direct rule from Madrid was lifted and Catalonia’s self-government was restored. Serret was one of the four ministers who accompanied former president Carles Puigdemont to Brussels, seeking refuge from the Spanish judiciary.
Almost nine months on, Serret is still in Belgium and unable to return to Catalonia for fear of being arrested for her part in last year’s independence bid. Yet, she is still the same "Meritxell Serret," she says and remains committed to the “collective project” of bringing about a Catalan republic.
Serret also trusts that the charge of rebellion brought against her by the Spanish authorities will not prevent her from dealing successfully with the EU’s institutions. While she admits that her legal situation is something to consider, she is not expecting it to cause any problems. Catalonia has “plenty to offer” the EU, she says, such as “good practices” and “innovation.”
Since taking up her post, Serret says she has devoted her time to finding out what the job entails and meeting with her Brussels staff. However, her office has already had the “opportunity” to participate in different receptions, such as one with the Flanders government, where she spoke to the Flemish region’s minister-president, Geert Bourgeois, members of the Belgian federal government, and ambassadors and other diplomats.
Serret also attended receptions by Scotland and Wales and took part in a conference organized by the German region of Baden-Württemberg. Her work this week continues with “maintaining good relations” with other parts of Europe. “We believe that Europe has to be built from the bottom up and we have to make a Europe of people and in this, every one of Europe’s regions has an important role,” says Serret.