Offices re-opening despite legal threat

Spanish Foreign Minister says legal services working on appeal, Catalan government vows to continue process

The schedule for restoring the Catalan government’s diplomatic presence abroad continues apace and starts today with the re-opening of the Berlin office. The announcement was made by government spokesman Elsa Artadi yesterday in response to Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell’s warning that the Spanish legal services were already working on an appeal against the opening of what he called “embassies.” Borrell stated that the decision had been taken and attributed it to the fact that the Catalan executive “has not complied with the legal procedures in force”. A few weeks ago, the Minister had already advised that he would present the appeal to the High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC), since he considered that the legal procedures were not complied with, stipulating that those autonomous regions wishing to open offices abroad must notify the Spanish government, which must then issue a mandatory report, although this is not binding. The Catalan executive argues that it did not make the notification because it was not a question of opening offices, but reopening those that had already existed.

Borrell yesterday reiterated the threat during breakfast at the New Economy Forum without giving many more details, other than it would be in a few days, since Spain’s international image “is seriously damaged” by “pro-independence propaganda”. It is a discourse he has repeated for days: that most of his work is dedicated to this issue.

Artadi wanted to highlight Borrell’s “contradictory” narrative, pointing out that the delay in opening offices was a “technical issue” and then criticising the Catalan government’s policies. She added that if Spain’s image is damaged, it is due to the images of police violence in Catalonia on 1-O.

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