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Spain opposes opening of new Catalan delegations abroad

Pro-independence executive will inaugurate six new offices without Madrid’s approval

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09 November 2018 11:05 AM

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ACN | Barcelona

The Catalan government will open six new delegations abroad despite opposition from the Spanish foreign ministry, which issued a non-binding report stating that the aim of the offices is contrary to Madrid’s interests.  

"This confirms the foreign ministry’s direct attack on Catalonia’s action abroad," said Ernest Maragall, the Catalan minister for foreign affairs. "They won’t stop us."

While the opening of new foreign offices requires Spain’s assessment, their inauguration can only be challenged if their activities are deemed illegal.

  • "We already know they’ll ignore us"

    Josep Borrell · Spain's foreign minister

"We already know they’ll ignore us," said Spanish foreign minister Josep Borrell on the Catalan government’s response to his ministry’s report.

The Catalan government plans to open new offices in Vienna (central Europe), Tallinn (Baltic countries), Zagreb (Balkans), Lisbon (Portugal), Stockholm (Scandinavia) and Beirut (Eastern Mediterranean).  

All international delegations but the one in Brussels were shut down a year ago, when the Spanish government responded to a declaration of independence by imposing direct rule and sacking the then-president Carles Puigdemont and his ministers.

After regaining power, pro-independence parties pledged to reopen all international offices and add new ones. So far, those in Berlin, London, and Rome are already operational. Delegations in Washington D.C., France and Switzerland will be opened in the coming weeks.

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  • Catalonia's foreign minister Ernest Maragall (right) and his Spanish counterpart, Josep Borrell (by Tània Tàpia)

  • Catalonia's foreign minister Ernest Maragall (right) and his Spanish counterpart, Josep Borrell (by Tània Tàpia)