Puigdemont and Junqueras meet again for the first time since October 2017

Exiled former president does not receive ERC at the door, as he did with Pere Aragonès

3 min
L'exvicepresident of the Government, Oriol Junqueras, and the president Puigdemont this Wednesday at the door of the House of the Republic, in Waterloo

WaterlooCold reception in Waterloo. The leader of ERC, Oriol Junqueras, has arrived this Wednesday at noon to the House of the Republic along with former Catalan ministers Raül Romeva, Meritxell Serret and Dolors Bassa and former Speaker Carme Forcadell. But unlike when meeting president Pere Aragonès, former president Puigdemont has not gone out to meet Junqueras at the door for the usual photoshoot while greeting each other. A few minutes later, however, they left together with former adviser Toni Comín and rapper Josep Valtònyc to take a group photograph at the door. There was a group photograph, but not of the two pro-independence leaders alone.

Former president Puigdemont, former vice president Junqueras and the former ERC councilors, together with musician Valtònyc walking down the stairs of the House of the Republic, in Waterloo

The meeting is surrounded by interest because Junqueras and Puigdemont had not seen each other since October 2017. But it has also been surrounded by controversy. First of all, over where the meeting would take place. The ERC delegation went to Strasbourg, where they met with members of the European Parliament and where they also initially expected to be able to hold a meeting with the current Junts MEPs in exile. Finally, however, Junqueras, Romeva, Bassas, Serret and Forcadell travelled on to the exiled former president's residence.

Image of the reunion of the delegation of ERC and the exiles to Waterloo.

The two parties had been discussing the details of the meeting's setting, which in the end included a group photo but not one of Puigdemont and Junqueras alone. Nor is it planned that the leader of Junts will appear later before the media, although ERC's leader.

As often happens when there are visits to the House of the Republic, a group of Catalans living in Belgium have received the ERC delegation with posters calling for "unity"

The arrival of the ERC delegation in Waterloo, where some Catalans living in Belgium have received them with posters calling for "unity".

Sánchez: "We do not deserve to remain anchored to 2017"

The president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, has reacted from Riga (Latvia) to the meeting between Puigdemont and Junqueras in Waterloo with a slogan: "We do not deserve to remain anchored to 2017". Asked about the intention of the former vice president of the Generalitat to try to regain his seat in the European Parliament, the Socialist leader has called to "look ahead and learn from mistakes". Sánchez appeared accompanied by the Latvian Prime Minister, Arturs Krisjanis Karins, after two people deployed a Catalan independence flag behind the Spanish delegation while they were paying their respects in a memorial built in 1935 by the soldiers who died in the Latvian war of independence. Karins did not want to comment on the situation in Catalonia and the demonstrations in favour of slef-determination and against repression -especially the imprisonment of pro-independence leaders- that Latvian MEPs have made in the European Parliament in recent years, reports Mariona Ferrer i Fornells.

One the goals of Junqueras's trip is also to explain that "repression continues", as he explained yesterday before holding meetings with "several MEPs from various groups" in the European Parliament. The ERC leader, who has not yet lost his seat as an MEP, which he could not take possession of because the Supreme Court did not allow him to leave prison, claimed that he should be able to enter the European Parliament as an MEP. He entered as an ex MEP, as did Raül Romeva