1709585503 The Generalitat announces the opening of embassies in Southeast Asia

The Generalitat announces the opening of “embassies” in Southeast Asia and India | News from Catalonia

Catalan Foreign Minister Meritxell Serret in an archive photo.Catalan Foreign Minister Meritxell Serret in an archive photo.Andreu Dalmau (EFE)

The Generalitat hopes to open two new delegations abroad this year, one in Southeast Asia and another in the Indian subcontinent, explained this Monday Minister Meritxell Serret. The head of the Catalan executive's foreign affairs department made the announcement during the presentation of her department's budget plans to a parliamentary committee. The Republican has defended this expansion of the network of so-called “Catalan embassies”, which already includes 21 offices in as many countries, because they are “strategic areas for Catalonia and its economic and cultural relations”. The debate over the bill has also sparked a flood of accusations between ERC and Junt officials regarding Russia's involvement in the process.

Serret declined to specify where in the Indian subcontinent the office would be located. More than 4% of the immigrant population living in Catalonia are of Pakistani origin (57,034 people, according to the latest figure from Idescat), representing the seventh group overall. The adviser highlighted the landing strategy for foreign missions in Asia, with the opening of the delegation in South Korea and the establishment of a delegation in Japan, which will open in 2024.

The government is thus giving the starting signal for two delegations that must first be formed and then carry out the entire performance competition to elect their leaders and technical teams. The legislative session ends in less than a year and therefore the process would have to be quick. The adviser expressed her satisfaction with the restoration of the Generalitat's foreign operations after the central government, as part of the self-government intervention under Article 155 of the Constitution, closed all “embassies” in 2017, considering that they wanted to apologize for the Independence.

“Six years later, we can confirm that not only have we not allowed the structure of foreign operations to be completely dismantled, but we have recovered and are stronger than ever,” stressed Serret, recalling that this network has the presence of almost hundreds of people assumes the workers of the Generalitat all over the world. He recalled that investments in delegations increased from the 10 million foreseen in the 2020 annual accounts to the forecasts of 19.4 million foreseen in the draft accounts.

From the ranks of the PSC, the deputy David Pérez has assured that the model of its formation would be to consolidate the delegations instead of opening new ones, but he considered that this decision is tempered by the fact that the cooperation of the Area that is even more important is growing in budgets. It reached 47.8 million, the highest level in 15 years. In the first negotiations over the bill last year, the Socialists even put on the table the condition that no more “embassies” would be opened, but that red line eventually fell. Party sources admit that this issue was not addressed in the checking account agreement.

On the other hand, there were disputes between the former government partners over Russia's involvement in the process. Responding to criticism from Junts deputy Josep Rius, Serret assured that his department had “work” to “convince our allies and international countries that we are not an anti-immigrant country or that Catalonia has no interest in the Kremlin.” ” The adviser was referring to the controversy sparked by the pact on immigration powers in investiture and the alleged links between former President Carles Puigdemont and his entourage with Russian emissaries supposedly helping in the struggle for independence.

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Aleix Sarri from Junts management intervened in the discussion. The former international policy advisor to the former head of government, Quim Torra, responded to Serret by saying that it was a Republican movement that “raised alarm at the highest level” due to its rapprochement with the Russian government. “They wouldn't have so much work at the ERC if they hadn't given Tatjiana Zdanoka, the Russian agent who worked as a MEP for years, so many wings over the years. “Inviting her as an observer of 1-O was a big mistake,” he wrote on the X Network.

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