Catalan diplomacy participates in election observation mission in Costa Rica

February 4, 2014 05:27 PM | ACN

The Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat) has participated in a short observation mission in Costa Rica for the presidential and parliamentary elections which were held last Sunday. According to a press release, Diplocat deployed 8 electoral observation experts on the ground to visit 50 polling stations across Costa Rica. In their report, Diplocat congratulated the people of Costa Rica and the Elections Supreme Court for the peaceful and well-organised electoral process. However, they also uncovered the existence of inequalities between political parties during the campaign, especially regarding access to the media. By participating in such missions, Catalonia reasserts its commitment to promoting peace and strengthening democracy worldwide.  

‘Sciences Po’ Professor: “transition” solution needed so “Catalans are not excluded from the EU”

January 31, 2014 07:49 PM | ACN

A Professor at the prestigious Paris Institute of Political Studies (Science Po), Jean-Bernard Auby, has advocated for a temporary solution to keep Catalonia within the European Union if it reaches independence from Spain. This agreement should guarantee that Catalonia will not be excluded from the EU even if it does not immediately become a full-member. During a conference in Sciences Po Toulouse organised alongside the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat), Auby insisted that “Catalonia and the Catalans are part of the EU” and for this reason, if they become independent “one shouldn’t, in a mechanical way, impose on them to go through the procedures we impose on those who are complete outsiders”. The conference ‘The right to self-determination of Catalonia. Legality and democratic legitimacy’ is part of a series of debates on the right to self-determination, organised by the Diplocat and scheduled in prestigious universities throughout Europe.

A Catalan debate over Responsibility to Protect

November 29, 2013 04:16 PM | ACN

The Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (DIPLOCAT) organized on Friday in Barcelona a conference on the Responsibility to Protect. This UN-backed principle claims that all countries have the responsibility to protect their citizens from human rights violations. The Executive Director of the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy, William Pace, argued that “the EU has in its DNA the responsibility to protect” and added that the attitude of the Catalan society is “also fundamental” in order to fight against “impunity for serious crimes”. The Secretary General of the DIPLOCAT, Albert Royo, said that “it is especially important” for Catalonia to “be able to explain which role it wants to play” in the international arena, now that is considering becoming an independent country.

Self-determination debate in Seville’s University among experts

November 22, 2013 09:32 PM | ACN

Experts from academia and Catalan and Andalusian civil society held a debate on the right to self-determination in the University of Seville. This Friday, the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat), in cooperation with Seville’s Law Faculty, organised two round tables on the democratic and legal implications of a self-determination vote in Catalonia and the role played by civil society. Diplocat is the Catalan soft diplomacy network supported by the main public institutions, business associations and chambers of commerce. Diplocat’s Secretary General, Albert Royo, pointed out that 80% of Catalans would like to hold a self-determination vote and for this reason the soft diplomacy network organises events such as the one in Seville, in order to involve the Spanish society in the debate. Antonio Merchán, Dean of the Law Faculty, highlighted the importance “to talk” about it.

The Catalan Government stresses that no treaty says that an independent Catalonia would be out of the European Union

September 17, 2013 09:20 PM | ACN

The Catalan Presidency Minister, Francesc Homs, answered the statement made by the Spanish Vice President of the European Commission, Joaquín Almunía, which was later backed by the Spokesperson of the international institution. Homs insisted that there is no automatic mechanism in the EU treaties to kick out a separated part of a Member State, although neither are there automatic mechanisms to ensure it remains within the EU. The Catalan Government’s Spokesperson stated that everything depends on the political will and negotiations. In fact, he hoped to hold such talks at Spanish level but also including the EU institutions, “because too many interests are at stake”. He added that the most pressing question is whether the Catalan people can hold a self-determination referendum, and that the EU debate is used as a distraction.

Latvia and Lithuania say the press offered a “biased” version of their Prime Ministers’ statements on Catalonia

September 16, 2013 10:36 PM | ACN

In two exclusive interviews with the Catalan News Agency, the Prime Ministers of Latvia and Lithuania answered questions on Catalonia’s independence and self-determination process. The statements were badly received by the Spanish Government. The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister summoned the Latvian and Lithuanian ambassadors in Madrid and met with them on Monday morning. Despite the video showing how the Lithuanian PM literally stated “each country has to find its own way” and “has the right to self-determination” referring to Catalonia, the country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a note stating that the press had offered a “biased and wrong interpretation”. Additionally, Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry also issued a note saying the interpretation was “biased”. However, at the same time, a Spokesperson of the Latvian PM stated he had nothing “to take back” from the interview, in which he was asked about recognising an independent Catalonia and stated “if there is legitimacy in their process, then I would say, theoretically, 'why not?'”.

The Catalan Government announces it will increase its external relations action as it is “more needed than ever”

January 29, 2013 11:41 PM | CNA

The Catalan Government criticised the Spanish Executive’s obstacles to Catalonia’s own external relations action, as “in a globalised world” this “is not a caprice”, but essential to be recognised at an international level and to attract foreign investment. The Catalan Minister for the Presidency, in charge of External Relations, Francesc Homs, criticised the Spanish Government’s “old-fashioned” way of understanding diplomacy and gave the example of spending in 2012 “€330,000 on cutlery and table cloths”. Homs emphasised the main commercial focus of Catalonia’s external offices and their “modesty”. The Catalan Government has a total of 5 political representation offices – including for the European Union – and 34 commercial offices.