Ricard López, 11 May 2022
The Catalan Minister for External Action, Victòria Alsina, at the closing of the event ‘What does Catalonia think of Europe’ / EUROPA PRESS
The regional minister for External Action, Victòria Alsina wants the EU to create a mechanism for “self-determination” within the EU and reproaches the states for not taking the regions into account.
The scant echo that the nationalist demands of the leaders of the Generalitat have in the European Union generates unease in the Catalan government. This can be seen in the declarations of its regional Minister for External Action, Victòria Alsina, who on Wednesday defended a “critical Europeanism” so that their demands in favour of the secessionist process are heard.
The JxCat leader wants what she considers a “Catalan voice” in Europe to be seen as a “response” to the consolidation of the European project, rather than as a threat. This is what she said on Wednesday at the event What Catalonia thinks of Europe, organised by Diplocat, the Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió (CEO) – two bodies of the Generalitat itself – and the Institut Català Internacional per la Pau (ICIP), which presented their surveys on the European Union (EU).
She wants the EU to recognise “self-determination”.
At the event, Minister Alsina expressed her displeasure at the fact that the final report of the Conference for the Future of Europe (COFOE) – an EU project to listen to citizens’ demands – has not incorporated the Generalitat’s proposals on the official status of Catalan as a Community language and the European mechanism for “a territory to exercise self-determination and continue to form part of the EU”.
The post-convergence leader says that these proposals were “the most voted for” in Catalonia, and in view of the fact that they have not been heeded, she warns that the Cofoe is a great opportunity that could be “at risk”.
Calls for more power for the regions
Alsina also defended the European funds as a positive response to the Covid-19 crisis, but expressed concern about the fact that the principle of “subsidiarity” is not being put into practice, reproaching the Member States for “not taking into account the opinion of the regions” in the distribution of these funds.
She said, “Wanting another European Union does not mean questioning the very idea of the Union”. “What we demand is that Europe be faithful to its founding values“, she added.
Popular support for the EU
Alsina explained that the Catalan government’s office in Brussels has promoted a network made up of 31 European territories which, according to her, share this concern, and she announced that in June they will publish a study with data in this respect.
On the subject of popular support for European institutions, the Councillor assured that the EU has an “intrinsic legitimacy that the majority of the population does not dispute” and that there is no debate on the founding values of the EU, highlighting the fact that the EU institutions have, in her opinion, learned from the mistakes of the past.
For his part, the Director of the Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió (CEO) of the Generalitat, Jordi Muñoz, presented the results of the studies carried out by this body between 2014 and 2022, which show an increase in the difference in confidence in Europe from 2017 onwards between supporters of secessionism, who suffer a drop, and those who do not support it, in which their level of confidence increases.
The coordinator of the area of social and political dialogue at the Institut Internacional Català per la Pau (ICIP), Pablo Aguilar, explained that they carried out a survey in 2021 on coexistence and polarisation in Spain, in which they asked about citizens’ confidence in the EU and in which they found that Catalans value the EU “a little lower” than the rest of the autonomous communities.
He also explained that distrust of European institutions is predominant among people who identify with left-wing and extreme left-wing ideology and among people “who identify more with Catalonia than with Spain”.