Spain demands Catalonia close its ’embassies’ in Berlin, Geneva and London

Europe

File photo of Catalan flag and protest sign at the Catalan parliament in Barcelona. photo: AFP

Spain’s central government said Tuesday it has asked a court to order Catalonia to close three offices representing the separatist-minded region’s interests abroad.

The government filed the request on Monday with the High Court of Justice of Catalonia demanding that the Catalan “embassies” in Berlin, Geneva and London close their doors, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The activity of these missions “clearly responds to the goals of Catalonia’s separatist process, which has been declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court,” the statement said.

Spain’s central government imposed direct rule over Catalonia in October 2017 after the wealthy northeastern region declared independence to no avail and ordered all of its foreign missions closed except the one in Brussels.   

But Catalonia, which has its own language, has reopened missions abroad after Madrid’s direct rule over the region ended in June 2018 and Catalonia regained its autonomy.

“We are not worried. Having a presence in the world is not just our will, it is also our obligation,” the head of foreign relations of Catalonia’s pro-independence regional government, Alfred Bosch, told AFP.

The activity of these foreign missions, which aim to improve Catalonia’s foreign relations in preparation of a possible independent Catalan state, is “legal and legitimate,” he added.

Polls show Catalonia’s population of around 7.5 million people — roughly the size of Bulgaria’s — are divided almost 50/50 on the issue of independence.

READ ;MORE: Catalan exiled leader sues for right to take MEP seat

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