Publicitat
Publicitat

EDITORIAL

A foreign policy aimed at defeating the Catalan independence process

Margallo’s hyperactivity and the efforts of his diplomatic machinery show that the Catalan case features on the international agenda

Spain’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García-Margallo, was overcome by an attack of sincerity on 13TV and admitted what everyone takes for granted but no one had dared to put into words: the Spanish government has paid an undisclosed price in favours to other countries in exchange for public statements opposing Catalan independence. Margallo’s forthrightness makes several things clear. First, that over the last five years his department has been primarily responsible for fighting against informal Catalan diplomacy in favour of the referendum. In Madrid, this is seen as normal and is even applauded, but it is odd that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs —which ought to concern itself with the interests of all Spanish citizens abroad— should dedicate itself to opposing the political positions of some of these very same citizens.

More importantly, however (and despite his attempts to downplay the issue), Margallo’s hyperactivity and the efforts of his diplomatic machinery show that the Catalan case features on the international agenda. And the third conclusion is that Spain is already paying a price for refusing to provide a political response to Catalonia’s request to hold a referendum. Madrid ought to come clean and explain exactly what these "favours" consist of.

One thing is clear, though. The offensive against the independence process reached its peak during the visit of King Felipe VI to the White House in 2015. The then US president, Barack Obama, who a year earlier had refused to make any reference to Catalonia in front of Rajoy, stated that he wanted a "strong and united" Spain. His statement was followed by a strengthening of the role of the Rota and Morón military bases, which are of strategic importance for the United States.

Nevertheless, the methods employed by the Spanish Foreign Office have not always been so diplomatic. They have boycotted events such as a presentation by Catalan writer Albert Sánchez Piñol in Utrecht. They also send representatives to events hosted by Diplocat [The Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia] in an attempt to create an uneasy atmosphere.

In contrast to this, however, think tanks such as the Adenauer Foundation and universities around the world have welcomed debates on the Catalan question. Likewise, parliamentarians from numerous countries have visited Catalonia to learn about the situation at first hand. All this in spite of the pressure applied by Margallo.

More content

PUBLICITAT
PUBLICITAT
PUBLICITAT