Catalan vice president meets Scottish first minister
Pro-independence leaders Pere Aragonès and Nicola Sturgeon pledge to strengthen economic cooperation between their governments
The Catalan vice president Pere Aragonès traveled to Glasgow on Sunday to meet with the first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, and discuss their political roadmaps to achieve independence.
Aragonès and Sturgeon agreed on the need for an independence referendum for both Catalonia and Scotland. While Aragonès demanded "the self-determination referendum that Catalonia deserves"—a possibility blatantly opposed by Spain, and which led pro-independence leaders to hold an independence vote deemed as illegal last year—, Sturgeon called for a new referendum for Scotland to have the chance to remain in the European Union (EU) after the United Kingdom decided to leave in the Brexit vote.
"We both agreed that democracy is the only way: democracy and perseverance"
Pere Aragonès · Catalan vice president
"We both agreed that democracy is the only way: democracy and perseverance," said Aragonès after the meeting. "We know that democracy will prevail, and this is something that forces us to be patient."
According to Aragonès, both leaders agreed to work out ways to strengthen economic cooperation between the Catalan Finance Institute and Scotland’s public bank of investment, an ongoing project by Sturgeon’s government.
The highest-ranking government official for Esquerra (ERC) party, Aragonès traveled to Scotland only a few days after a major row between the two pro-independence parties ruling Catalonia. On Friday, Aragonès and president Quim Torra appeared in a joint press conference to show unity between ERC and Junts per Catalunya (JxCat).
In his subsequent press conference, Aragonès responded to an announcement by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), one of the two biggest pro-independence grassroots groups in Catalonia, which set December 21 as a deadline for the Catalan government to explain its political roadmap to separate from Spain.
"We must focus on what we agree on," he said, and added that while independence must be achieved as soon as possible, it’s necessary to widen support for pro-independence parties and reach major compromises.
A yellow ribbon for Sturgeon
Aragonès gave Sturgeon a yellow ribbon, which has become a symbol of solidarity with Catalan politicians and activists in jail or exiled for their role in the independence bid. She accepted the gift and pinned it on her jacket.
There are nine pro-independence leaders in pre-trial prison, while seven are seeking refuge in other European countries.
Clara Ponsatí, a former minister of the executive that organized the referendum and declared independence last year, is currently living in Scotland.
Aragonès thanked Sturgeon for welcoming Ponsatí, but said his trip was too short and didn't have time to meet her in person.