Peace, solidarity, human rights, democracy: Catalonia marks Europe Day with reassertion of values 

President Pere Aragonès and continental representatives give institutional act at government headquarters

Catalan president Pere Aragonès speaks at the Europe Day event at the Catalan government headquarters
Catalan president Pere Aragonès speaks at the Europe Day event at the Catalan government headquarters / Natàlia Segura
Cillian Shields

Cillian Shields | @pile_of_eggs | Barcelona

May 9, 2024 05:56 PM

May 15, 2024 11:32 PM

Catalonia marked Europe Day by underlining the importance of continental values like peace, solidarity, and human rights at an institutional act at the government headquarters in Barcelona. 

President Pere Aragonès spoke alongside foreign minister Meritxell Serret, head of the European Parliament office in Barcelona, Sergi Barrera, European Commission representative in Barcelona, Manuel Szapiro, and Belgian consul in Barcelona, Pierre-Emmanuel Brusselmans.

“This is Europe: working together, adding up our potential, and mutual collaboration,” Aragonès said during his speech, in which he also listed some of the challenges that lie ahead for both Catalonia and the continent as a whole: climate change, drought, energy sustainability, digitalization, and the advancement of rights and freedoms. 

For Aragonès, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is one of the main points of concern for the continent in the next political cycle, along with the rise of the far-right, xenophobia, racism, and  male chauvinism. The Catalan president hopes to construct a Europe that is “more democratic, more feminist, more fair, and more prosperous.”

Aragonès and foreign minister Meritxell Serret both underlined the need to correct the “historical anomaly” of giving the Catalan language official status within the continental institutions, a language that they pointed out is spoken by ten million people across Europe. 


Serret also spoke about the war in Ukraine and the arrival of refugees to our shores, and underlined the importance of solidarity in this respect.

The day was also an opportunity to remind citizens of the significance of taking part in the European elections, with the vote in Catalonia scheduled for June 9. “With an eye on this new political cycle that Europe will begin, it is essential to encourage participation in the elections to the European Parliament next June,” Serret highlighted. 

Serret and Manuel Szapiro both remembered the relevance of the figure of Robert Schuman, instrumental in the construction of post-war continental institutions, including the Council of Europe. Today is “a day when we remember the legacy of peace and solidarity of my compatriot Robert Schuman, to claim our determination to keep it alive,” Szapiro remarked.

The head of the European Parliament's office, Sergi Barrera, thanked the government of Pere Aragonès "for the excellent collaboration throughout the legislature" and has urged the next executive to "reinforce" this cooperation, "especially in the field of education." 

Aragonès celebrated that relations with Brussels have been "consolidated" and are now "solid." "We want to continue to nurture and strengthen these relationships," he said.