Misc 16/09/2016

Catalan Foreign Minister travels to USA to explain independence process to Congressmen

The Catalan Minister will give two talks on immigration management

Maiol Roger
2 min
Romeva ahir al Congrés dels EUA amb el delegat del Govern a Washington, Andrew Davis.

BarcelonaYesterday Foreign Minister Raül Romeva began a three-day trip to the United States to explain the independence process to US congressmen. Specifically, Romeva was to meet this morning with Republican and Democratic representatives on the subcommittee for European Affairs, a body that reports to the Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee. One of the Congressmen who will meet with Romeva is California’s Dana Rohrabacher (R), President of the subcommittee, who has already spoken in favor of the right to self-determination: "I don't see any reason why Catalans should not be able to decide if they want to be part of Spain or not", he said last September, after meeting with then-head of Foreign Affairs Roger Albinyana, who was deputy minister at the time (a lower ranking official), to learn about the situation in Catalonia after 27-S. This time Romeva will travel there to explain the state of the independence process. As to be expected, the Minister has run into diplomatic issues with the Spanish authorities: ministerial sources explained that this meeting, which comes right after the rallies on Catalonia’s National Day (September 11), is the one that has generated the most pressure from the Spanish embassy.

Talk in a think-tank

After the meeting with the congressmen, Romeva will travel to New York with another mission: to explain how Catalonia has managed immigration in recent years, and how the Catalan model could serve to host refugees. He will do so first with a lecture at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs think-tank, where he will be joined by Catalan Immigration Secretary Oriol Amorós. Also participating in the talk will be Nisha Agarwal, New York City Commissioner for immigration. Romeva will close his agenda with another lecture on immigration at New York University. The Minister will not miss the opportunity to link the topic of migration to the independence process: he will assure that Catalonia is prepared to face any migratory challenges as an independent country.

The Minister will also make the most of his trip to grant interviews to media such as CNN in Spanish, the Washington Post, and Politico, where he will highlight the success of the Diada's pro-independence rally.

The United States has always been a target of Catalan foreign action, but since the beginning of the process the reception has not always been the same: although Catalan representatives have been able to meet with congressmen, as has Romeva, the White House has expressed its support for a "strong and unified" Spain on several occasions. It has been a long time since the only meeting between presidents of the Generalitat and the USA: it was in 1989, when George H.W. Bush met with Jordi Pujol for seven minutes. The meeting had to be discreet, but Pujol managed to sneak a photographer into his entourage to capture the triumphant image for the then fledgling Catalan foreign diplomacy.

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