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Catalonia and the Democratic Values of Europe

November 20, 2019

Alfred Bosch i Pascual, Minister for Foreign Action, Institutional Relations and Transparency, Government of Catalonia
Moderated by Lisel Hintz, Assistant Professor of International Relations and European Studies
Catalonia’s Minister for Foreign Action, Institutional Relations and Transparency Alfred Bosch i Pascual was hosted by the European and Eurasian Studies (EES) Program for a discussion on Catalonia and the Democratic Values of Europe, moderated by Assistant Professor of International Relations and European Studies Lisel Hintz. Bosch i Pascual shared his vision of Catalonia as a prosperous community that yearns to be independent.  
Bosch i Pascual criticized the Spanish supreme court for imprisoning nine elected officials and civil society leaders for organizing a referendum on self-determination in Catalonia on the charge of sedition, which he called a democratic drift. As a democratically elected politician, Bosch i Pascual sees a referendum as an essential test for Catalan independence.
Bosch i Pascua elaborated on the complex challenges Catalonia faces. He pointed out to organisations such as Amnesty International, the Council of Europe and the UN to emphasize that the actions of the Spanish government following the 2017 referendum represent a criminalization of legitimate acts of protest. Moreover, he explained that Article 2 of the Spanish Constitution, which was interpreted to reserve referenda for national authorities, has been repealed since 2005. Lastly, he asserted that the Catalan crisis implicates Spain and Europe more broadly, as seen in the case of Former Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont who was elected in the 2019 European Parliament, but serving as a parliamentarian would require him to be sworn in Madrid, where he would be arrested. 
Audience members raised numerous topics during the question-and-answer session, including the vision of an independent Catalonia within the EU, Catalonia's plans for economic and migratory integration, controversy about economic inequality between Catalonia and other regions of Spain, the rest of the country, the rhetoric used by some politicians of the Catalan government that has been criticized as nationalistic.