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Juncker would meet with Catalan president ‘depending on’ subject

The European Commission representative in Barcelona, Ferran Tarradellas, explained that a potential meeting will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis

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09 May 2018 03:23 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The president of the European Commission (EC), Jean-Claude Juncker, will meet with the new president of Catalonia “if there is a request” and to be “evaluated depending on what they want to speak about.” This was divulged by the EC representative in Barcelona, Ferran Tarradellas, in an exclusive interview with the Catalan News Agency (ACN).  

Tarradellas noted that the Luxembourg official “sees many people,” further downplayed the importance of the fact that no Catalan president has met with the highest European Commission official since Juncker took the post four years ago. In time for Europe Day on May 9, Catalan News interviewed Tarradellas to hear his thoughts on voting, the European Union crises, and the Catalan situation.  

  • “If there is a request from the new Catalan president, when they are chosen, to meet with Juncker, it will evidently be evaluated depending on what they want to speak about”

    Ferran Tarradellas · EU Commission representative in Barcelona

Well, today is Europe day, there are so many crises in the European Union going on, from the refugee crisis, the situation in Poland, in Hungary, Brexit...do we still have reasons to be optimistic about the future of Europe?

Well, what we are celebrating now, it's the longest period of peace that the continent has enjoyed since the 3rd century AD. I think this is something that has to be put on the table. It is true that there are crises but what we have seen in all the crises is that we are much more capable of facing problems when are together than when we go on our own. So now, we have an excellent chance to think, again, how the EU, at 27, should be, and I think this day of Europe could be an important point to reflect before the elections in 2019, what is the kind of Europe we want for the future?

It's actually a year until these elections of 2019, turnout in EU elections, the last time, was less than 50%. Do you think Catalans are motivated enough to vote in these elections, or they don't care?

I think that for Catalans it's very important, and for the rest of European citizens, it's very important that they participate in these elections, because they should know that many of the decisions that affect their daily lives are discussed at a European level, and are approved at a European level in the European Parliament. So I think it's in their own interests to make their voice heard, and the best way to have their voice heard is voting in the European elections.

Many Catalans that are pro-independence wanted Europe to hear their voices on this debate on independence, on the possibility of having the referendum, and especially now, that there are some politicians in prison. Some consider that they are a bit disappointed. Do you understand this disappointed from the Catalan society within the EU?

Well, the European Union had clear competencies, from the very beginning, even before the Catalan crisis started, the position of the Commission has been that this is an internal issue of a member state. And this has been the long-standing position of the European Union, and I think for all citizens, Spaniards and Catalans, it's good to understand what Europe can say and cannot say on an issue which is outside their competencies, according to what the treaty says. 

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  • The representative for the EU Commission in Barcelona, Ferran Tarradellas on May 8 2018 (by Laura Pous)

  • The representative for the EU Commission in Barcelona, Ferran Tarradellas on May 8 2018 (by Laura Pous)