Catalan Government to open six new delegations abroad this year

For the first time there will be delegates in Asia and presence in Africa will be reinforced

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Victòria Alsina, this Monday in Barcelona

BarcelonaDespite the pressure from Barcelona's Court no. 18 and the Court of Auditors, the Generalitat's foreign action continues. This Monday minister Victòria Alsina has presented the Catalan government's strategy abroad, which includes opening of six new delegations in 2022. This deployment involves, among others, opening delegations in Asia for the first time.

Specifically, the department's plan aims to open new delegations in Andorra, Brazil, Senegal, South Africa, South Korea and Japan, which would mean going from the current 14 delegations to a total of 20. The government will now have offices in Seoul (South Korea) and Tokyo (Japan) and will strengthen its presence in Africa, where the Tunisia delegation will move move to Rabat (Morocco) and two new delegations will open, in Dakar (Senegal) and Pretoria (South Africa). The selection of the new delegates will be made by public competition.

In his speech before diplomatic representatives in Barcelona, Alsina has defended that the new department plan is "a turning point in the Generalitat's foreign action", and has underlined that it entails "bad news" for all those who do not want Catalonia to have "its own voice" in the world. "For a nation like Catalonia, foreign action is essential," she stressed. Alsina also explained the goal is to let the world know that Catalonia is "a reliable partner, excellent in many areas, and supportive". "Let the whole world know what we want to be," she said.

The Catalan government the delegation in Senegal to be the first to open, while a delegation to Andorra will also be launched soon. All will require a prior report from the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Catalan department, however, hopes the Spanish government will not stand in its way, since the external action is part of the Generalitat's competences.

New offices and new special envoys

Beyond the new delegations, Foreign Affairs foresees the opening of new offices – extensions of already existing delegations, which allow greater presence in key cities – in Ireland, Slovenia and Quebec, and the creation of the figure of the special envoy, who will have a specific mission assigned to them and who in 2022 will be sent to Poland and Scotland. In the latter case, they will pay special attention to the celebration of a new referendum.

The plan, presented this Monday by Alsina, sets aside the creation of a delegation in Australia, which –like the ones in Senegal and Japan– had been announced in the fall of 2020 by the previous Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bernat Solé. Department sources claim that gaining a foothold in Oceania is not a priority right now, although they do not rule out including it in a future expansion.

The reconfiguration of the Generalitat's Foreign Affairs plan has also implied changes at the top of some delegations. Specifically, the department headed by Alsina has decided to dispense with the representatives in Argentina, David Poudevida, and in the United Kingdom, Sergi Marcén.