With four new delegations in Geneva, the Nordic Countries, the Balkans and the Baltic region, the Government aims to promote and defend Catalan interests abroad and further internationalize its economy and national culture.
By establishing these new offices, Catalonia would take on new tools of direct representation to the aforementioned territories and their areas of influence, strengthening relations between the Catalan Government and international organizations based in these countries.
With the creation of these delegations the Government aims to address issues such as its strategic presence, national interests and the effectiveness and efficiency of its own resources. These new offices – with the exception of the delegation in Geneva, which has a multilateral relations mandate – would function as specialised “hubs”. The delegations would no longer be seen as independent bodies covering exclusively the country in which they are based but as agencies seeking to establish new relations. The deployment of new delegations was designed across regionally homogeneous territories, thus extending the area of influence beyond state borders.
Delegation of the Government to the Nordic countries (Copenhagen)
This Delegation will extend its area of influence to five members of the Nordic Council: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
The creation of a new delegation in Northern Europe which is currently uncovered, will allow the country to have representation and establish relations with the institutions of three EU member states and the two EFTA participants. Catalonia holds a special trade relationship with this region, with a turnover of €940M in exports and imports amounting to €1.2 billion, as well as also a cultural one. There are currently two posts for lectureships in Catalan in Finland and Sweden and three Catalan communities in Denmark, Iceland and Sweden.
Delegation of the Government to Poland and the Baltic States (Warsaw)
This new office will cover Poland and the Baltic region (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), a territory of significant and growing influence within the European Union.
The location takes into account Poland’s demography (6th most populated MS in the EU) as well as its political and economic influence. Catalan exports (€1.3 billion) and imports (€1.6 billion) to the region also have a significant potential. As for sociocultural aspects, the region hosts six positions for Catalan lectureships (one in Lithuania and five in Poland) including a well-established Catalan community in territory. Moreover, new interactions with international organisations based in these countries will be developed through the new delegation.
Delegation of the Government to the Balkans (Zagreb)
This hub will bring Catalan representation to the Balkans: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. The Delegation will have extended prospective powers in South-Eastern European countries (Greece, Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania).
The expected area of influence would a strategic importance for Catalonia not only because it includes several EU Member States but, moreover, because it has a significant regional geopolitical importance. It is a centre of trade expansion for Catalan companies and, having many foreign communities in Catalonia, it holds an important cultural relationship with Catalonia. In 2015, Catalan exports to the region reached €1.5 billion, and imports were close to €1 billion.
The Delegation of the Government in Geneva
This Delegation will focus on its role as representative of the Catalan Government to the multilateral organizations based in Geneva, a city that hosts the most international organisations’ headquarters in the world. The Delegation will develop multilateral relations so that Catalonia can take part in projects with potential interest for the countries in such organisations. Furthermore, it will give insight to these countries of the current Catalan reality.
No further delegations to be created in Europe
The creation of these offices is included in the 2016-2017 Government Plan, which provides for the extension of the network of delegations abroad in representation of the Generalitat and follows a set schedule based on the priorities of its foreign action: geo-strategic criteria, bilateral economic relations, the presence of international organisations, Catalan immigration abroad, immigration to Catalonia from said countries and Catalonia’s regional impact.
After this new plan and the opening of the Lisbon Delegation in Portugal, no further Catalan delegations are expected to be created in Europe.