Romeva at Westminster: “There is more interest in discussing the Catalan question here than in Spain”
CNA / Sara Prim
London (CNA).- Catalonia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, presented the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Catalonia this Tuesday created by 21 MPs from the main parties in the British Parliament. “This is what we would like other parliaments to do” said Romeva and lamented that there is no similar predisposition in Spain’s Congreso de los Diputados. “Sometimes, there is more interest in discussing the Catalan question here than in Spain”, he added. According to Romeva, the cross-party nature of the APPG proves that the Catalan question “is about democracy” and therefore should “concern all those who believe in democratic principles”. SNP MP and Chairman of the APPG on Catalonia, George Kerevan, admitted that he was “surprised” by the “large amount of people” who attended the presentation, including not only MPs and Peers but also “academics and many representatives from different sectors in the United Kingdom”.
“We are here to explain the current situation in Catalonia and why we want to vote,” said Romeva and added that “this is the same speech we give in Catalonia each time we are invited to explain our process to the world”.
The APPG on Catalonia is an initiative launched by the Scottish National Party (SNP) but comprises 21 MPs and Peers from six different parties. According to Romeva, this cross-party nature proves that the Catalan question “is essentially about democracy” and therefore should “concern all those who believe in democratic principles”. “The aim of the APPG is to analyze this specific matter, regardless of the members’ ideologies,” he said and praised the member’s “common conviction that this is a topic which deserves to be discussed”. According to Romeva, the “concern” regarding the situation in Catalonia “is logical”, bearing in mind that it is occurring “in the 21st century and within the EU framework”. In this context, “political disagreements should be addressed through democracy and not by using the courts, threats or pressures,” he warned.
Kerevan calls for “dialogue” between Catalonia and Spain
SNP MP George Kerevan is Chair of the APPG and the main promoter of the initiative. Kerevan reiterated his support in favor of Catalonia’s right to decide its political future and criticized the prosecution of the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, for allowing a debate on Catalonia’s independence in the Catalan chamber.
“We are interested in the democratic process,” Kerevan told the CNA while at the same time making it clear that they don’t want to tell other countries “what to do”. However, and bearing in mind the successful experience of holding a Scottish referendum in 2014, Kerevan pointed at “dialogue” as the best option for solving political problems, since it is “the essence of democracy”. “We urge Catalonia and Spain to open a dialogue with each other” he said and named the United Kingdom as “a good example” of this policy. “If you don't have dialogue, you never have a happy result for anybody,” he said and lamented that “the process between Catalonia and Spain hasn’t reached a stage where both parties can sit around the negotiations table”. “What really surprised me tonight was the large number of people who came to this public meeting,” admitted Kerevan. A turnout which not only proves that the Catalan process arouses a good deal of interest but also sends “a message to Spain: people notice what we Europeans do, even in our own backyard”.