Consell per la República creates a "free ministry of Foreign Affairs"

Puigdemont warns Aragonès that return of exiles cannot be "a political deal" with the State: "We don't want shortcuts"

3 min
Former President Carles Puigdemont on Wednesday at a press conference of the Council for the Republic from Brussels

BarcelonaThe Consell per la República already has a government, with Carles Puigdemont as its leader and an assembly of representatives with 121 seats, and now also a "free ministry of Foreign Affairs". The Waterloo-based entity wants to be nourished by "representatives from around the world" who will dedicated themselves to "explaining the Catalan conflict". They can be volunteers.

The main difference with the Generalitat's department of External Action, the Consell emphasises, is that the ministry will have no limitations, giving it "enough freedom to explain things that the autonomous government" can not do.

This has been announced by the organization led by Puigdemont in a press conference from Brussels in which the former president and Consell members Adrià Alsina and Neus Torbisco took part. "We have overcome our foundational moment", Puigdemont said, and added that they have done so with more "external than internal" complications –the Consell was one of the major stumbling blocks between JxCat and ERC during negotiations for a coalition government–. Now, one of its "basic axes" is the internationalisation of the conflict. They hope to achieve it by "weaving complicities with states, institutions and non-governmental organisations". Everything, in Torbisco's words, to carry out Puigdemont's strategy: an "intelligent and effective" confrontation with the State.

The Consell, however, believes that this confrontation cannot be made by a Government that is under "a sort of permanent 155", a reference to the article of the constitution used to suspend autonomous rule in 2017. "We have to take on a function that is forbidden for the Government", the former president affirmed. One of the first steps is this "civil diplomacy" and, therefore, the organisation has opened a form so that people who are spread around the world can become ambassadors. In this sense, Adrià Alsina explained that they are "in contact" with the Department of External Action and do not want to "compete". "The Consell never wants to replace the government," Puigdemont said.

With this tool, the Consell wants to obtain "international recognition" for the pro-independence cause, although Puigdemont has assured that the ministry will be even more useful once "the failure of the negotiating table is consolidated" and "a scenario of confrontation" must be entered. The former president, however, has not wanted to set deadlines for the negotiation, although he believes it will bear no more fruit. However, after president Aragonès's call for pro-independence unity, during Monday's conference, Puigdemont has advocated the creation of a space "where all the pro-independence movement can agree" and has defended a "choral leadership".

The end of the exile can not be a political pact with the State

Unlike what JxCat secretary general Jordi Sànchez did this Tuesday, Puigdemont –who has received a call from president Aragonès– has not criticised the speech but has warned that the end of exile cannot be "a political deal" with the State. This was his message after the head of the executive asked the Spanish government to dismiss cases against exiles. The response of the former president is clear: "We do not want shortcuts, we explicitly ask no personal solutions are sought to the personal situation of exiles. Our return has to rest on a victory for fundamental rights". Shortly thereafter, Puigdemont wanted to value the work done from Waterloo: "Exile is a key political element".

On the other hand, shielding himself in the fact that it was an act of the Consell per la República, Puigdemont avoided assessing both speaker Laura Borràs's management of the Juvillà case and the effects of the MP being stripped of his seat on the strategy of confrontation championed by JxCat. Regarding Juvillà's seat, he said that it will help the Consell to internationalise "the [State's] abuse", and before the failure of the disobedience, he answered that it is "the spokeswoman of JxCat" who should answer. During all these weeks no assessment of the case has been heard from Puigdemont, who now a few days ago met with Borràs in Brussels.

Consell per la República press conference to present its international strategy