The President of the Government of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, accompanied by the Minister for Foreign Action and European Union, Meritxell Serret, this morning led the Europe Day commemoration, held at the Palau de la Generalitat with the participation of the Director of the Representative Office of the European Commission in Barcelona, Manuel Szapiro, and Honorary Consul of Sweden, Sofía Geli Stenhammar, representing the country that currently holds the EC presidency for this six-month period.
During the commemoration, the head of the Executive vindicated and highlighted “the Europeanism of Catalan society” and its “commitment to democracy and an idea of fully empowered citizenship, which drives us in our desire to advance in the European project.” Because, according to Aragonès, “Europe is our natural space for political action,” and for this reason, “one of the priorities of this term of office has been to reinforce and strengthen direct dialogue with the highest European representatives, which is vital to making Catalonia’s voice heard once again within the European institutions.”
During his speech, the President insisted that Catalonia has been and wants to continue to be “an active part” of the European project and, above all, a “reliable and committed partner in tackling the common challenges facing all Europeans”, because, he said, if we go to Europe to look for solutions and answers “we are also ready to contribute to shaping these solutions and answers” and “assuming full responsibility on an equal footing with the other nations and states of Europe.”
In this line of “building Europe by combining forces,” the head of the Executive sought to highlight “the strength and potential of cooperation networks between governments”, among them the Pyrenees-Mediterranean Euroregion, whose presidency he has held since February, and to which “we want to give fresh impetus.” In Pere Aragonès’s opinion, “cross-border cooperation is essential to meeting the challenges,” and for this reason he expressed his desire to “lead the creation of the Mediterranean macroregion,” making the most of “the full strength of a global city such as Barcelona,” where, as in Catalonia “all Mediterranean and European values converge.”
The Pegasus case
The president also took the opportunity in his speech to “welcome” the report approved yesterday by the European Parliament on Pegasus espionage and rights violation. “European institutions, the European institutional framework, have always offered us a means of strengthening individual rights and collective living conditions, and we would like to thank the European Parliament for approving this report and, above all, giving us the opportunity to explain to them the violation of our rights as European citizens,” he stated.
He further added, “this is not a closed case, the proof of which is that a further step has been taken to denounce this case of espionage and demand transparency and cooperation with justice from all the institutions.”
Minister Serret, on the other hand, also referred to the Parliament’s report during her speech, stating that, “we cannot and do not wish to imagine the future for Europe without talking about human rights and democracy.It is unacceptable that, in a so-called European democracy, fundamental rights are violated through mass espionage. And it is not only us who say so, but also the European Parliament.” She further added, “Europe will find an ally in the Government of Catalonia and Catalan civil society.”