Foreign minister says EU not recognizing delegate in Brussels would be ‘absurd’

"There will never be any problem to speak with whoever," says Meritxell Serret, head of the office who is in Belgium seeking refuge while being prosecuted in Spain

Catalan delegate in Brussels with foreign minister Ernest Maragall (by  ACN)
Catalan delegate in Brussels with foreign minister Ernest Maragall (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Brussels

July 2, 2018 03:20 PM

The Catalan foreign minister has supported the new delegate in Brussels from the EU capital. Ernest Maragall, who appointed exiled former minister Meritxell Serret as head of the Brussels office, said on Monday that it would be "absurd" that the EU does not recognize her as Catalan government representative. According to him, she is "perfectly legitimized and with all her rights." Serret is being prosecuted in Spain for her role in the independence bid last year, but Belgium rejected extraditing her in May.

Thus at the moment there is no European arrest warrant hanging over her head after two failed Spanish attempts. Along with the minister, Serret told the press that a potential third one "would not necessarily hamper" her work.

Her appointment as head of the Catalan delegation in Brussels sparked some criticism from the unionist parties. The People's Party told last week the leaders of the European Commission, European Parliament and European Council to not "open the EU offices' doors" to Serret. According to her, however, "there will never be any problem to speak or dialogue with whoever."

In touch with EU institutions

According to minister Maragall, Serret’s task is "being present in all areas where Catalans' interest has to be present." For him, the duty of the Agriculture minister in the deposed Puigdemont cabinet is that of "responsibility of representing the general interest." What's more he said that the Catalan government intends to be in touch with the European Commission, the European Council, the Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and the Council of Europe.

Not only the People's Party, but also the Spanish ruling Socialists showed skepticism at her nomination as head of the Catalan office in Brussels. Last week, the Spanish president said that Serret's legal situation would be an obstacle for his government to be in touch with her office. Yet minister Maragall said that it is "obvious" that both administrations will work together in Brussels.