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Puigdemont and Rajoy meet for the first time at tribute to Germanwings tragedy

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and current Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy presided over the tribute to the victims of the Germanwings aircraft which crashed in the French Alps one year ago, on its way from Barcelona to Düsseldorf, with 150 on board. Both presidents exchanged “cordial” words during the institutional event but avoided commenting on any political issue, sources from the government stated. This Wednesday’s coincidence was the first meeting between Puigdemont and Rajoy since the Catalan President took office, on the 12th of January. The Catalan government’s spokeswoman, Neus Munté, noted that Rajoy didn’t call Puigdemont when he was instated as President or to “show condolence” after the coach crash which killed 13 international students this past Sunday in the south of Catalonia.

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23 March 2016 06:25 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- Catalonia remembered this Wednesday the 150 victims of the Germanwings aircraft which crashed in the French Alps one year ago, on its way from Barcelona to Düsseldorf. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and current Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy presided over the institutional ceremony, which was their first meeting since the new Catalan President took office, on the 12th of January. Both presidents exchanged “cordial” words during the institutional event but avoided “any political comment”, sources from the government stated. The Catalan government’s spokeswoman, Neus Munté, noted that Rajoy didn’t call Puigdemont when he was instated as President or to “show condolence” after the coach crash which killed 13 international students this past Sunday in the south of Catalonia.


During the event, which was held at Terminal 2 of Barcelona El Prat airport, the victims’ families called for improved security measures in aircrafts to avoid other similar tragedies happening. “We want to avoid catastrophes of this kind and we want our leaders to become aware that they have to look after each one of us”, stated a representative from the accident’s victims association, Sílvia Chaves. She also thanked the security and emergency services staff for their help and understanding. “You were there when we most needed you, and we could feel you even without touching us”, she added. 

In this vein, both Puigdemont and Rajoy conceded that “there is much work to do” regarding this issue and committed themselves to articulating the necessary measures to guarantee that a similar tragedy won’t happen again.

Regarding the management of the emergency, Rajoy stressed the cooperation between the different countries involved, mainly Spain, France and Germany, and described it as “exemplary”.

In a similar sense, Puigdemont wanted to emphasise the effectiveness thanks to the emergency mechanisms put in place after the accident.

The French ambassador in Spain, Yves Saint-Geours, also attended the ceremony. He assured those present that he is “proud” of the French people who lived near the Alpine area where the accident occurred and insisted on “keeping” the solidarity in Europe throughout its citizens.

The first anniversary of the Germanwings tragedy

A year ago, on Tuesday the 24th of March, a Germanwings Airbus A320 airliner covering the route between Barcelona El Prat and Düsseldorf crashed in the French Alps, near Digne-les-Bains and Barcelonette, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, at around 11 am (CET). Soon after, investigations into the accident concluded that the aircraft was deliberately crashed by the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who killed himself and 149 people.

39 of the 51 victims with Spanish nationality were Catalans. Many were businesspeople on their way to an agri-food fair in Cologne. In addition, there were also people of several different nationalities who were living in Catalonia or working in some of the numerous multinationals based in the area. Among the victims there was also a group of 16 high school students and 2 teachers from Germany, who had spent an exchange week in Llinars del Vallès (Greater Barcelona). Baritone Oleg Bryjak and mezzo Maria Radner, and her family, who had performed Wagner's 'Sigfried' over the last few days at Barcelona Liceu Opera House, were also among the victims.

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  • Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont and Current Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, at the institutional homage to the victims of Germanwings' tragedy (by ACN)

  • Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont and Current Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, at the institutional homage to the victims of Germanwings' tragedy (by ACN)