On Tuesday, the Government of Catalonia’s Foreign and EU Secretary, Roger Albinyana, and Diplocat’s Secretary General, Albert Royo, appeared before the Belgian Federal Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee to explain the Catalan political process and the significance of the elections on September 27. The appearance took place after a formal invitation by Committee Chairman, Dirk Van Der Maelen (SP.A - Socialistische Partij Anders), thus demonstrating the interest of the Belgian legislative chamber regarding Catalonia’s political situation and its subsequent sovereignty process. Attending the day’s hearing were the Government's Permanent Representative to the EU, Amadeu Altafaj and fifteen Belgian Members of Parliament, the majority representing the two main Flemish and Walloon political parties.
During their initial intervention, both Catalan representatives explained the political background that has led to the current situation and the parliamentary elections on September 27. In this sense, Albinyana stressed the exceptional nature of these elections, motivated by Spain’s refusal to accept any kind of consultation or referendum on the issue. Meanwhile, Royo reviewed some of the key events of recent years, which have led to the current situation and talked about the democratic, peaceful and inclusive movement in Catalonia, referring explicitly to the recent mass demonstration on September 11 as a prime example of the pacific nature of the sovereignty process.
Afterwards, the two representatives engaged in a Q&A session with Belgian MPs who asked about the main stages that would follow the elections as well as the Government’s roadmap regarding the political future of the Government. Part of the discussion focused on the continuity of Catalonia to the EU and other multilateral bodies. On this point, Altafaj intervened to explain the pragmatic nature of the EU and affirmed that it would find political solution to the situation which would benefit all parties involved. The Belgian MPs also conveyed an interest in the strategy of the Spanish government and the use of the courts as a means to pressure the main proponents of the Catalan political process. Both the hearing and subsequent debate took place in a cordial environment of understanding, thoroughly with complete respecting the Catalan issue.
This is the sixth time in recent months the Catalan political process has been debated in foreign country’s legislative chamber. On May 19th, the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) voted a resolution that urged dialogue between Catalonia and Spain in order to resolve the issue democratically (passed with 64 votes in favour, none against and 41 abstentions). Subsequently, on July 7th, Albinyana and Royo took part in a similar debate in the Irish parliament (Oireachtas). On Wednesday August 26th, Albinyana and Royo appeared before the Parliament of Uruguay to explain the process and were later received by the president of the Uruguayan legislative chamber, Alejandro Sanchez. Later, on September 2nd, the Director General for External Relations, Francesca Guardiola appeared before the International Affairs Committee of the Senate of Paraguay and, more recently, on September 9, the United States House of Representatives hosted a debate with Secretary Albinyana in its Europe Affairs subcommittee.