The President of the Generalitat, Artur Mas, chaired the first meeting held by the Government’s Council for External Action and EU Relations. The Executive’s new advisory body was formally constituted during yesterdays’ first meeting in which the 2015-2018 Strategic Plan for External Action and EU Relations was also officially approved to reinforce and make Catalonia’s international projection more coherent. The Plan, which was subject to a public consultation during the past months, was presented before the Council and is expected to be approved by Government in the coming weeks.
The Council for External Action and EU Relations is an advisory body as well as an entity for external participation. The organ is presided by the President of the Generalitat under the provision of article 17 of the External Action Law and comprises President Mas, the Minister of the Presidency, Francesc Homs, the Secretary for Foreign and EU Affairs, Roger Albinyana, Director General for Foreign Relations Francesca Guardiola, Director General for Multilateral and European Affairs Manuel Manonelles, Director General for Development Cooperation Marta Macias and the Government’s Permanent Representative to the EU, Amadeu Altafaj. Additionally, the Council includes 30 representatives of Catalan entities with international projection which are listed at the end of this press release.
The main functions of the Council for External Action and EU Relations are as follows:
- To draft and make proposals in this field and provide suitable initiatives and suggestions to Government in order to improve actions
- To participate in the drafting of the Administration’s legislative initiatives, such as draft bills and general provisions, including the Strategic Plan for External Action and EU Relations and annual sectoral plans
- To promote the collaboration, cooperation and mutual assistance between Government and local entities as well as other public interest groups conducting significant international activity, in particular to guarantee its participation in consultative and information gathering procedures prior to drafting the Strategic Plan for External Action
- To discern and monitor political and government action and, with its expertise, contribute to the fulfilment of the Generalitat’s commitments and agreements
The 2015-2018 Strategic Plan for External Action and EU Relations
Article 15 of the External Action Law contains the provision for Government to draw up the Strategic Plan for External Action and EU Relations, with the participation of the other Ministries, while integrating proposals made within the framework of the Inter-ministerial Commission for External Action and EU Relations. Moreover, the Law establishes that it is necessary to guarantee information, consultation and participation of the other actors involved with Catalonia’s foreign activity, in particular with Catalan local entities and civil society organisations (SCOs) involved in these matters, in order for the Plan to be the result of a widely studied, well informed, consultative and participatory process which also takes into account previous experiences.
The Plan was devised as an essential internal tool to arrange, promote and reinforce the Catalan Government’s external political action. The document lays down the four main strategic objectives. Firstly, it aims to promote and defend Catalonia within Europe and throughout the world through the internationalization of its economy, culture and knowledge. Secondly, it aims to reaffirm Catalonia’s pro-European and pro-Mediterranean vocation and protect its interests before the EU and other European and Mediterranean institutions. The document also intends to contribute towards global objectives such as peace, security, human rights, sustainable development, social justice and active multilateralism. Finally, the Plan aims to promote a more modern and efficient diplomacy, which provides support and services to Catalans abroad and helping them to attain a higher profile.
Therefore, in addition to enshrining Catalonia’s pro-European and pro-Mediterranean spirit, the Plan aims to seek the greatest political consensus in defining the direction and general strategies of the Government’s external action with the utmost coherence, coordination, transversality and transparency. It also aims to guarantee peace and security as its main pillars as well as the tenet of non-discrimination on the basis of gender, background, nationality or age.
Participation of entities and civil society’s organizations
In addition to the members of Government, the Council for External Action and EU Relations also includes up to 30 representatives from local entities, public interest groups and civil society organisations (SCOs) which conduct significant international activity, as well two distinguished members of the Catalan Communities Abroad, appointed by representatives of Catalan Communities Abroad Council.
- Catalan Association of Municipalities / Council of Local Governments of Catalonia
- Intercollegiate Association of Professional Associations of Catalonia
- Multi-sectoral Association of Companies – AMEC
- Casa Amèrica Catalunya
- Casa Asia
- Barcelona Centre for International Affairs – CIDOB
- Comissions Obreres de Catalunya – CCOO (Trade union)
- Conselh Generau dera Val d'Aran
- Council for Development Cooperation
- Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia – DIPLOCAT
- Council of the Official Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Navigation of Catalonia
- Inter-university Council of Catalonia
- Barcelona Provincial Council
- Federation of Catalan Municipalities
- Federation of Internationally Recognised Catalan Organisations – FOCIR
- Foment del Treball Nacional
- Private Foundation of Catalan Businesspersons – FemCAT
- Barcelona Institute of International Studies – IBEI
- International Catalan Institute for Peace – ICIP
- Barcelona Institute for Global Health – ISGLOBAL
- Institute for Catalan Studies – IEC
- European Institute of the Mediterranean – IEMed
- Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises of Catalonia – PIMEC
- Trade union “UGT de Catalunya” General Union of Workers of Catalonia
- 2 representatives of the Catalan Communities Abroad are also members of the Council