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Government member meets with EU commissioner for first time since 2017 referendum

Foreign minister Victòria Alsina discusses territorial cooperation with European cohesion and reforms head, Elisa Ferreira

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27 January 2022 03:23 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

No member of the Catalan government had had any public contact with a European commissioner since the 2017 independence push – until now.

On Thursday, foreign minister Victòria Alsina met with the European cohesion and reforms head, Elisa Ferreira, in order to discuss territorial cooperation.

Alsina was part of a delegation of the Euroregion Pyrenees Mediterranean entity who presented their new roadmap before the commissioner in Brussels. 

Apart from Catalonia, the delegation was also made up of officials from the Balearic Islands and Occitania. The Balearic finance and foreign relations minister, Rosario Sánchez, and Occitania's vice president for Europe and international relations, superior education, and research, Nadie Pellefigue, also joined the session.

The European Commission had never held any meeting with a Catalan cabinet member since the October 2017 referendum and declaration of independence, although the EU's governing body did sit at a table with other Catalan political leaders such as the current head of the opposition in parliament, the Socialist Salvador Illa.

Since the beginning of the independence push in the 2010s, no president of the Commission has met any Catalan president. Indeed, the last one took place in March 2011, when Artur Mas met with Jose Manuel Durao Barroso.

Just a day before her trip to Belgium, Alsina presented the set of events that will commemorate the centenary of the relationship between Catalonia and the League of Nations, the first worldwide supranational entity in the name of global peace, born in the wake of the First World War.

Commemoration of the Catalonia - League of Nations relationship 

On March 10, 1921, the opening ceremony of the International Conference on Communications and Transit took place in Barcelona, organized by the League of Nations.

The result of this conference was a set of international instruments, known as the "Barcelona Conventions", which are still partly in force today and revolve around ensuring freedom of transit for various commercial goods across national boundaries.

Three exhibitions to mark the links between the Catalan capital and the organization that preceded the UN are programmed this year.

One of them is already open and will be until February 23 in the Catalan Library, called 'La Biblioteca de Catalunya i la Societat de Nacions'.

Two other shows are set to take place at Barcelona's Espai Honorat site, in Plaça Sant Jaume, from February 14 to April 14, and an exhibition dedicated to Josep Puig i Cadafalch in the Catalan National Archive.

Puig i Cadafalch was a president of Catalonia's Mancomunitat organization, which, in the early 20th century was the beginnings of what would be a devolved Catalan self-rule in 1931.

This official allowed the League of Nations meeting to take place in the Palau de la Generalitat, the seat of the current government HQ, and began diplomacy work at Mancomunitat.

"One hundred years ago, the Mancomunitat already undertook foreign action. We used to do it a century ago, and we will continue doing it," said Alsina during the presentation of the commemoration.

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  • Catalonia's foreign affairs minister Victòria Alsina (right) meets with European commissioner for cohesion and reforms, Elisa Ferreira, as well as representatives from the Balearic Islands, Rosario Sánchez, and Occitania, Nadie Pellefigue (image courtesy

  • Catalonia's foreign affairs minister Victòria Alsina (right) meets with European commissioner for cohesion and reforms, Elisa Ferreira, as well as representatives from the Balearic Islands, Rosario Sánchez, and Occitania, Nadie Pellefigue (image courtesy

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