On Monday, the Minister of Transparency and Foreign and Institutional Relations and Affairs, Raül Romeva, and the Representative of the Catalan Government in France, Martí Anglada, attended the remembrance ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
On behalf of the Catalan Government, Minister Romeva and Delegate Anglada made a floral offering at the Belloy-en-Santerre memorial to honour the Catalan volunteers who fought alongside the French Foreign Legion during the 1st World War. The Government representatives also attended the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to the poet Camil Campanyà, one of the many Catalans soldiers who died in the historic battle.
The commemorative event took place on Monday and began with a military parade perfomed by the French Foreign Legion that went from the Town Council of Belloy-en-Santerre to the memorial honouring the soldiers who took part in the Battle of the Somme. At the memorial the legionnaires where received by institutional representatives from France, Germany, Spain, Catalonia and the United States, and by the mayors of Belloy-en-Santerre and the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region, as well as officials from the French, Czech, German and U.S. forces who also paid tribute to the soldiers.
In reference to the Catalan volunteers who took part in the Battle of the Somme, Minister Romeva stated that “as a nation, [Catalonia] has always regarded Europe and the world. We have never felt at odds with its progress or its vicissitudes. […] We have always shown our willingness to play our own particular role in the global arena and have involved ourselves, as much as the circumstances allowed for, in the fight for justice, but above all in the pursuit of the resolution of conflicts”.
Romeva also highlighted that commemorative events like the one held today at Belloy-en-Santerre “allow for the remembrance of those who lived during such atrocious times, but are also a great display of fraternity and, especially today, of our commitment to peace”.
After the tribute, the Foreign Legion and the local chorus performed “La Marseillaise”, which was then followed by the unveiling of the plaque dedicated to Catalan poet, presented by the Government representatives. Additionally, the Minister for Transparency and Foreign and Institutional Relations and Affairs also conferred an honorary medal to the mayor of Belloy-en-Santerre, on behalf of the Catalan Government.
The event was organized by the Communauté de Communes de Haute Picardie, with the support of Souvenir Français, the French Ministry of Defence, and in collaboration with the Delegation of the Catalan Government to France.