'Spanish constitution cage for our hopes and people,' says Catalan president in Ljubljana
Torra calls Europe "to act promptly if it still loves democracy" in event joined by first independent Slovenia president
The Catalan president, Quim Torra, has given a talk called 'Catalonia: from the Spanish constitutional cage to freedom' in the town hall of Ljubljana, Slovenia's capital city.
And the idea of 'cage' has been a key one during his speech. "The Spanish constitution has become a cage for our hopes and people, a jail for our freedom," he has said.
On Thursday evening, he claimed that "if [Spain] were a democracy it would not force so many people into prison, exile or hunger strike."
Therefore, he called on Europe "not to believe the constitutional farce of Spain."
"I call Europe not to disappoint at this grave hour. Today I call Europe to act, and to act promptly if it still loves democracy," he added.
"Spain will never reform itself to accommodate our aspirations"
Torra explained the independence project he is leading in Catalonia, and said that Spain will never change to accept this project.
"If [Spain] were a democracy it would not force so many people into prison, exile or hunger strike"
Quim Torra · Catalan president
"Spain will never reform itself to accommodate our aspirations," he said. "Instead of protecting freedom of speech and tolerance with all democratic ideas, the Spanish Constitution has become a prison for our freedoms."
Fascist salute in public places legal in Spain
According to Torra, according to Spanish laws, "to praise Francoism, to make publicly the fascist salute in public places" and to have a mausoleum glorifying a dictatorship" is legal.
But holding a referendum and speaking Catalan in Spanish congress is illegal, he said.
First president of Slovenia joins event
Torra's speech was introduced by former Slovenian president Milan Kučan, the first one since the country granted its independence, and also by former foreign affairs minister and now MEP Ivo Vajgl. The Catalan leader met the two of them earlier in the day.
Meeting with Slovenia's president
Torra is on an oficial trip in Slovenia on Thursday and Friday, and he has already held several meetings, including one with the corrent president of the Balkan country, Borut Pahor.
Both leaders held a private conversation on Thursday morning and discussed the "good cooperation" between Slovenia and Catalonia.
Torra talks to MPs, writers and is expected to meet potential investors
Torra also talked to several MPs, and took part in a talk about art and human rights, moderated by Igor Korsic, and joined by several writers and the president of the Slovene Writers Association, Aksinja Kermauner
On Friday, he will hold a meeting in Slovenia's Chamber of Commerce and Industry with several potential Slovenian and Croatian investors in Catalonia.
On the same day, he will also go to the town of Medvode to visit the memorial to Franc Rozman, a Slovenian national hero who volunteered as a member of the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War. While there, Torra will present Rozman's granddaughter with a commemorative plaque.