Belgian Parliament discusses Catalonia’s push for independence
The Catalan Foreign Affairs Secretary, Roger Albinyana,andthe Secretary-General of Diplocat, Albert Royo, appeared this Tuesday before 14 of the 17 members that compose the Belgian Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. Requested by the Commission’s president, the Flemish socialist Dirk Van Der Maelen, they explained the upcoming Catalan elections, to be held on the 27th of September, and answered the commissioners’ questions. “It is a very democratic process and, as everybody has noticed, with a majority of people supporting it”, stated Committee on Foreign Affairs’ member Peter Luykx. The Spanish ambassador to Belgium has already complained about the appearance, which arrives after six other parliaments across the world have shown their interest in Catalonia’s case.
Brussels (CNA).- The Commission of Foreign Affairs of the Belgian Parliament discussed this Tuesday Catalonia’s situation and its push for independence. The Catalan Foreign Affairs Secretary, Roger Albinyana, and Secretary-General of Diplocat, Albert Royo, appeared before 14 of the 17 members of the Commission, at the request of its president, the Flemish socialist Dirk Van Der Maelen. They explained the upcoming 27-S Catalan elections and answered the Commission’s questions. Regarding Catalonia’s current situation, Committee on Foreign Affairs’ member Peter Luykx stated that “it is a very democratic process and, as everybody has noticed, with a majority of people supporting it”. The Belgian Parliament is the sixth parliament to discuss Catalonia’s push for independence, after the chambers of Ireland, Denmark, Paraguay, Uruguay and the US all did so. The Spanish ambassador to Belgium has already complained about the appearance.
“We are very delighted to receive a delegation of the Catalan Government” said Committee on Foreign Affairs and New Flemish Alliance party (N-VA) member Peter Luykx, who added that the Belgian Parliament “is very open” and willing to “discuss with all parties”. Luykx assured that they wanted to know what “exactly” was happening in Catalonia, as Catalan issues are also “European issues”. Regarding the Catalan push for independence, he stated that “it is a very democratic process and, as everybody has noticed, with a majority of people supporting it”. When asked about his position regarding Catalonia’s independence, he forecast that the process would last “most likely until 2017” and added that there would be plenty of time to “follow up on this procedure and if it is democratic, if it has a majority, I think it is obvious it will have support”.
The sixth parliament to “officially discuss Catalonia’s case”
The Catalan Foreign Affairs Secretary Roger Albinyana explained that the appearance was requested by the Belgian Parliament. “We were summoned to an informative session addressed to all members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs” said Albinyana and highlighted that this is the sixth parliament to request further information and “officially discuss Catalonia’s case”.
Albinyana emphasised that these invitations were always made from a “neutral position” that aims to “listen” to the Catalan Government’s point of view. Delegations from the Catalan Government, together with Diplocat, The Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia, have so far appeared before the Parliaments of Ireland, Denmark, Paraguay, Uruguay and the US.
Albinyana pointed out that the commissioners’ questions were mainly focused on the Spanish attitude and “why they don’t negotiate”. The MPs also asked about the hypothetical reactions of the EU’s institutions and member states, as well as the roadmap after the 27-S elections.
Spanish diplomatic pressure
Roger Albinyana explained that Spain’s ambassador in Belgium “has complained to the Belgian Parliament’s president” about the Catalan appearance. He thanked the attitude of the federal Parliament, for keeping the appearance as scheduled and doing so with “normality and neutrality”. Albinyana lamented that pressure from Spanish authorities often “turns into threats and defamations”.
Regarding Belgium’s position in the event of an independent Catalonia, Albinyana admitted that “it is hard” to forecast, as it is still too soon to talk about alliances and these will depend on the 27-S election result.