foreign affairs

Spanish Constitutional Court partly lifts suspension on Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs

June 29, 2016 07:05 PM | ACN

The magistrates at the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) lifted the cautionary suspension against the functions and structure of the Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs, which they dictated five months ago. However, they have kept the suspension on the Ministry’s name. While they considered that the functions and structure of the department match the Catalan Government’s competences, as far as they are limited to “foreign projection” they still believe that the denomination of the ‘Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ could represent an invasion of the Spanish State’s competences on this matter. 

Catalan Government plans to have 17 offices abroad within a year

June 7, 2016 02:59 PM | ACN

The Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs wants to open ten new offices abroad before summer 2017. The aim is to have delegations of the Catalan Government in Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Croatia, Vatican City, Portugal, Morocco, South Korea, Mexico and Argentina. This will be added to those currently existing in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria and the United States. However, the deployment of the plan depends on pro-independence radical left CUP’s support for the draft budget for 2016 presented by the Catalan Government. So far, the anti-capitalists have kept their veto on the bill on account of it being “too autonomic” and “not reflecting” the pro-independence proposal approved by the Parliament on the 9th of November. 

Puigdemont to do face to face radio show with Salmond on official trip to London

May 9, 2016 08:09 PM | ACN

Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont and former Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, will be interviewed this Thursday on the radio programme ‘El Balcó’ of Cadena SER radio station. The conversation will take place during Puigdemont’s official trip to London, during which the Catalan President will give the talk ‘Mapping a Path Towards Catalan Independence’ at London’s Chatham House, one of the most important think tanks in the world. Puigdemont will be in London from Wednesday to Friday, and on the diplomatic trip he will also hold an interview with the BBC and attend business meetings in the financial heart of the city. London will be Puigdemont’s second official trip abroad, after visiting Belgium in the beginning of May.

Puigdemont chooses Brussels for his first official trip abroad

April 18, 2016 06:52 PM | ACN

Brussels is the chosen destination for Catalan President Carles Puigdemont’s first official trip abroad. It will be from the 30th of April to the 2nd of May and comes after Puigdemont’s visit to Paris, scheduled for March, had to be cancelled due to the coach accident which killed 13 Erasmus students in Freginals, in the South of Catalonia. Puigdemont made the announcement this Monday during a meeting with the delegates of the Catalan government abroad, the Catalan Government’s representative to the European Union, Amadeu Altafaj, the Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, and the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Jordi Solé. During the meeting, Puigdemont also confirmed the government’s will to open new delegations in the Vatican and Morocco as soon as possible.

Spain’s lack of response to Catalonia’s push for independence concerns the international community

April 1, 2016 02:45 PM | ACN

Spain’s executive position in relation to Catalonia’s push for independence and its “refusal to budge” concerns the international community. Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, former MEP Raül Romeva, explained this Friday that none of the diplomats he has talked to so far understand why “there is no one at the other end of the table”to discuss the situation in Catalonia. According to him, the international community rejects Spain’s executive campaign to confront both “politically and judicially”and tackle the situation in Catalonia through the court. Romeva also added that the perception that Catalonia’s push for independence and its future relationship with Spain is an internal matter is changing, and the international community is becoming aware that it is a topic which may also affect them.


Government to open new delegations in Portugal, Vatican City and Morocco

March 30, 2016 02:30 PM | ACN

Three new Catalan government delegations will be opened during this term of office. According to the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Jordi Solé, the new delegation in Lisbon will be in full operation “in the following months” while those planned for the Vatican City and Morocco are still pending deployment by the Government. Although these three new delegations have already been appealed by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC), Solé insisted on the “key role” that these institutions play in Catalonia’s foreign affairs strategy and emphasised the government’s will to “continue deploying Catalonia’s institutional representation in the world”. The Catalan government already has seven delegations abroad, as well as three more projected in the short-term and some others to be opened in the near future.

The government won’t obey the TC’s regarding Catalonia’s foreign action

March 17, 2016 07:12 PM | ACN

Spain’s executive has repeatedly insisted on the alleged illegality of the new Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs and has taken its creation and competences before the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). The Catalan government decided to change the name of this department as a “preventive measure” to avoid the TC taking further measures against it but the Spanish executive again appealed and urged the TC to suspend the Ministry, “regardless of the denomination”, after considering that its competences “remain unchanged”. This Thursday, the Parliament has decided that they won’t obey the TC’s cautionary suspension of the new Ministry, the opposite to what the Catalan People’s Party (PP) and Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’ urged the government to do.

The Government changes the name of the Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs in order to “move on”

March 1, 2016 03:03 PM | ACN

The Catalan government has decided this Tuesday to change the name of the Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs, amid the controversy with the Spanish executive and after the recent suspension of the department by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). The new name is to be the ‘Affairs and Institutional Relations and Foreign Affairs and Transparency’. “We have made this decision in order not to stop” stated Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva. The pro-independence party ‘Junts Pel Sí’s top member and former MEP also assured that the government “won’t stop doing” foreign action and insisted that “neither the functions nor the responsibilities” of the department have changed.

ALDE’s leaders visit President Puigdemont and the Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs

February 29, 2016 03:29 PM | ACN

The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, received a representation from the Association of Liberal and Democrats of Europe (ALDE) group amid the controversy surrounding the recent suspension of the Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). ALDE President and MEP Hans Van Baalen, who has repeatedly defended Catalonia’s right to decide its political future, was joined by ALDE’s general secretary, Jacob Moroza-Rasmussen and political adviser, Laura Laussade. They met President Puigdemont and the Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, former MEP Raül Romeva. Liberal party CDC’s spokeswoman and ALDE vice president, Marta Pascal, also attended the meeting, together with Spanish Parliament MP and the President of the Catalan foundation ‘Llibertat i Democràcia’, Jordi Xuclà.


Suspending the Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs is "counterproductive", say foreign MEPs

February 25, 2016 11:44 AM | ACN

The suspension of the Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs is “going to work against the aim of the Madrid government” and boost independence support, according to some foreign MEPs that have been following the political process in Catalonia. “It was just a kind of name change, not a legal change, but it has big emotional meaning for both sides”, said former Foreign Affairs Minister of Lithuania and now MEP Algirdas Saudargas. The President of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and also MEP Ian Hudghton said Scots are “fortunate” not to have “been treated in the way that Madrid seeks to treat Catalonia”. Flemish MEP Mark Demesmaeker argued that there is a “big contrast” between Spain and Belgium, while the Swedish Green MEP Bodil Valero defined as “very strange” the decision by the Spanish Constitutional Court to suspend the Catalan ministry.

European Free Alliance criticises Spain’s decision to suspend the Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs

February 19, 2016 02:55 PM | ACN

The European Free Alliance (EFA) has strongly criticised the Spanish Constitutional Court’s decision to suspend the Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In a press communiqué released this Friday under the title ‘Spain’s attack on Catalan democracy’, EFA’s President, François Alfonsi, lamented the “disturbing anti-democratic trend in Spain that runs contrary to European values”. In the same vein, the President of EFA’s Euro parliamentary group, Catalan MEP Josep Maria Terricabras, noted that “the office of Foreign Minister is recognised in law and in Catalonia's statute of autonomy” and urged Spain to respect “democratic governance and human rights”. The EFA isthe group in the European Parliament which gathers together Catalan left-wing pro-independence ERC and other nationalist parties of the EU.

The Spanish Constitutional Court has suspended the Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs

February 17, 2016 10:22 AM | ACN

The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) has accepted the appeal presented by the Spanish executive to suspend the new Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Thus, the department lead by pro-independence cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ top member, Raül Romeva will be suspended at first for five months, which is the period that the TC has to study whether the new Ministry is in line with the Spanish Constitution. Earlier this month, the current Spanish vice president, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, and current Spanish Minister for Justice, Rafael Catalá claimed that the Catalan government had exceeded the competences in matters of foreign action specified in the Catalan Statute of Autonomy. For his part, the Catalan President Carles Puigdemont assured that Catalonia “will continue to do foreign action”and defended the legitimacy of the new department. 

Former Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs to Catalonia: “Don’t be scared by scaremongering”

January 29, 2016 06:53 PM | ACN

If Catalonia proclaims its independence, the international community will in the end “accommodate itself to the new reality”, stated former Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson. “Don’t be scared by scaremongering. In the end, all nations and all political leaders have to accommodate themselves to new realities” he assured in an interview with CNA. Although he predicted that proclaiming independence outside of the law will at first be considered “illegal” for the international community, “freezing Catalonia out forever” would be “nonsense”. Baldvin Hannibalsson recognised the Baltic States’ independence in 1991, when neither the United States nor the European powers dared to do so for fear of confronting the USSR.

Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs defends Catalonia’s potential contribution to the EU

January 25, 2016 07:01 PM | ACN

The new Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, former MEP Raül Romeva, defended Catalonia’s potential contribution to the EU, especially due to its diverse nature. According to Romeva plurality is a core value of the EU despite “the voices which try to impose certain ideologies which deny diversity and plurality”. During his first public event at the head of the new Ministry, Romeva assured that there is “no news” regarding the Spanish government’s decision to take the new Ministry before the court (they claim that it violates some of the Spanish executive’s competences). He went on to highlight the importance of legality in the EU “but also democracy”. “When it is against its people, the State has a problem” stated Romeva.

Spain to take the Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs before the court

January 22, 2016 06:58 PM | ACN

The Spanish government’s acting vice president Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría announced that the competences of the new Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs will be taken before the court. The commission to study the constitutive process of a potential Catalan Republic, which was approved on Thursday during the new government’s first plenary session, will also be appealed. Spain’s executive believes that both actions violate competences of the Spanish government. On the other hand, Spain’s executive will not impugn new Catalan President Carles Puigdemont’s taking office, during which Puigdemont didn’t mention Spain’s King nor the Spanish Constitution.