Barcelona (ACN) – The Catalan Government approved decrees on Tuesday for the creation of three new delegations abroad, in the Holy See, Portugal and Morocco. The Minister of the Presidency, Francesc Homs, said the purpose of opening these delegations is to facilitate bilateral relations and defend the social and economic interests of Catalonia abroad. The new delegations will also perform prospection functions in neighbouring countries, like the Community of Portuguese Language Countries and the Arab Maghreb Union, a trade agreement among five North African nations. With these new delegations, which are included in the Foreign Action Strategic Plan 2015-2018, the Government of Catalonia will have an international network of 10 offices abroad.
The Government’s objective is to reinforce its presence outside of the Government in these territories to promote and defend the interests of Catalonia, as well as to have a tool for direct representation in these territories in order to increase Catalan participation in international organisations. Specifically, the delegation to the Holy See will focus on facilitating bilateral relations with the Vatican in the area of Government powers and collecting information on initiatives undertaken by the Holy See that are of interest to the Government.
Homs dissociated the decision to open a delegation in the Holy See from party politics when asked about whether this decision has any connection with the tensions between CDC and UDC. The two parties have formed a coalition, CiU, for more than 30 years, and their partnership could dissolve in the face of the debate within the UDC over Catalan independence.
The Minister of the Presidency indicated that in the field of diplomacy, the role of the Holy See “transcends the spiritual aspect” and argued that the reasoning is related to political representation, which also includes the defence of economic and social interests. “Being close is justified for a country that wants to defend its interests in the international community,” he said.
In reference to the new delegation in Portugal, Homs specified that the head delegate will be Ramon Font, who is currently working in that country and will be given the status of Government delegate.
With these new delegations, the Government’s international network will comprise a total of 10 offices, in : France, the U.K., Germany, the U.S., Italy, Austria, the Holy See, Morocco, Portugal and the government delegation to the European Union, in Brussels.