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Home » Content » The Department of Foreign Affairs calls on the justice to close the Catalan ’embassies’ in Berlin, London and Geneva
The State Attorney asks to paralyze these centers because they represent a "serious damage" to the foreign action of Spain

Lucia Abellán

Brussels 3 JUL 2019 – 22:02 CEST

Foreign Affairs has asked the High Court of Justice of Catalonia to close the open Catalan embassies in Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Switzerlan, according to a communication sent Tuesday by the Department. The State Attorney considers that the diplomatic centers of the Generalitat in Berlin, London and Geneva violate the exclusive competence of the State in matters of international relations and operate “with singular intensity for a secessionist process that has been declared unconstitutional”.

The petition was filed on Monday as a precautionary measure in the context of the administrative appeal filed in 2018 against the decree of the Generalitat that reinstated these three delegations and those of the United States, France and Italy. All of them had been closed in November 2017 with the application of Article 155 of the Constitution in October 2017, with former President Mariano Rajoy at the head of the Executive.

The Law on External Action, approved during the mandate of Rajoy, requires communities wishing to open offices abroad to request a report from the Government to determine if those centers conform to the norm. But the document is only mandatory, not binding, so the autonomous community can ignore it and move forward with the project. The central executive then has to appeal to the courts.

The request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the High Court of Justice of Catalonia to close the delegations of the Government in Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland – since it considers that they violate State competences in external relations – has caught the Minister of External Action of the Generalitat in Strasbourg. Alfred Bosch has been confident that justice will prove him right. “We are very calm, being present in the world is a necessity [Opening the so-called embassies]. We are fulfilling an obligation of the Government of Catalonia”, he assured.

Bosch recalled that “there are rulings that recognize the competence of the Generalitat to open branches” and explained that the Govern does “the same thing” as do other autonomous communities and cities. “We will be ready to notice how the latest fancy of Minister Borrell ends”, said the minister, who has participated in the plenary session of the new legislature of the European Parliament.

The Comúns have rejected the Foreign Affairs decision and have reiterated that bringing politics to the judiciary is not a solution to the conflict. “Taking it to a court does not solve it”, said MCP Susanna Segovia, speaking at the Parliament. Lorena Roldán, MCP spokeswoman for Citizens, has described Borrell’s request for closure as “show”, since she does not understand why he intends to close only three embassies and allows the operation of six others, such as those of Mexico and Tunisia. Her analysis is based on her assumption that Sánchez would have already decided to govern both with populists and with the secessionists and has suggested that the measure is, therefore, a distraction maneuver.

The socialist Alícia Romero has admitted that the PSC was unaware of the Ministry’s plans in advance and has said that she has indications that these delegations do not act with neutrality. “Those offices must be neutral. We do not know well what has happened for the Government to put the appeal and we will be prudent but”, she has qualified, “it is true that everything that is resolved out of politics is much better”.

According to Foreign Affairs, the activity of Catalan delegations abroad is becoming harmful to the interests of the State. And it has verified that the activity developed in Berlin, London and Geneva “responds with singular intensity to the objectives of the secessionist process of Catalonia that has been declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in reiterated rulings”. The ministry already urged the State Attorney last week to demand precautionary measures for this reason. That is, to paralyze the opening of the Generalitat delegations that are not yet open and to close those in which irregularities have occurred. That situation potentially affected six. The three appealed this Monday appear in that run. The other three are those of the United States, France and Italy. “They are being a fundamental instrument to promote the thesis of secessionism and denigrate the international image of Spain”, the ministry argues.

The Government has indications that some of the delegations that the Catalan Generalitat deploys abroad fail to comply with the law. In the case of the last three – those of Mexico, Argentina and Tunisia, approved a few days ago, but still to be opened – Foreign Affairs had instructed the State Attorney to appeal the opening. The ministry directed by Josep Borrell considers them “harmful to the interests of the State, given the stated objective of the current Govern to use all means at its disposal in the so-called internationalization of the procés”.

As for the offices in London, Berlin and Geneva, the brief filed this Monday before the High Court of Justice of Catalonia, competent in this matter, justifies the precautionary measures in the fact that the delegations obstruct the external work of the State. “They are in operation and clearly contravene with their activity, among others, a competence and exclusive title of the State, such as international relations”.

The opening of the offices of the Generalitat in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, France, the USA and Italy was announced in June 2018 and appealed in September by Foreign Affairs, since the Generalitat opened them without requesting the previous report. Then came a second round of offices in Vienna, Tallinn, Zagreb, Lisbon, Stockholm and Beirut, for which the Generalitat did request the previous report from the central government.



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