Catalan president meets EU commissioners to relaunch relations


Father Aragonès was in Brussels this week to meet European commissioners, a first for a member of the Catalan government for several years.

Relations between Catalonia and the European Commission deteriorated as the Catalan government struggled for independence.

“We had come out of a certain freeze (in relations), I think also because of the attitude, also on the part of the Spanish government,” Aragonès told Euronews.

“In any case, we have worked from the start to generate spaces of trust with the EU institutions so that we can show that Catalonia is there to participate in the solutions to European challenges.”

Since Aragonès took office last year, relations between his government and that of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez have slowly improved.

The last time a Catalan president met with a European commissioner was in 2015. Catalonia then held a referendum which resulted in a “declaration of independence”. Some members of the government, including former President Carles Puigdemont, have fled to Belgium.

Several other separatists, who remained in Spain, went to prison but were later pardoned by the government.

Pegasus spyware scandal

Aragonès said he was grateful that the Commission listened to Catalan concerns over the recent Pegasus spyware scandal he suffered.

A Citizen Lab report in April revealed that the spyware had been used against Catalans, including MEPs, lawmakers and presidents.

The head of Spain’s intelligence service has been sacked amid allegations that the agency used the software.

“Obviously a problem like this is complex, it cannot be solved with a meeting, but with a lot of work,” Aragonès told Euronews.

“Many of us have gone to court, but it’s a slow process. But beyond these issues, there has been no active policy to protect the right to privacy and to the privacy from [Spanish] state authorities,” he said.

In Brussels, he met the European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders to talk about cyber espionage.

On Friday, he will meet Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton on the “contribution that Catalonia can make in the context of European digital sovereignty”.

Aragonès also spoke about proposals to use Catalan in the European Parliament, saying he was confident they would get support.

“Our hope and our work will not be aimed so much at the MEPs representing those Spanish parties who actively oppose the use of Catalan in the EU institutions, but at many members of their parliamentary groups who have no problem with the use of Catalan. Catalan,” he said.

“I’m confident we’ll get that support.”


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