The President of the Government of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, stated this evening at the ceremony of the seventeenth edition of the Prix Pyrénées award, given annually by the French Chamber of Commerce in Barcelona, that “Catalonia feels a strong bond with France in terms of the challenges facing the future of Europe”.
“We share the same concerns; about whether this Europe that has cost so much effort to build, and which is based on so much pain, might be at risk. And in view of this risk, our governments are working shoulder-to-shoulder to overcome this challenge,” he declared.
With these words, the president made reference to the lorry attack on a Christmas market in Berlin yesterday evening, and contended that “these kinds of events are the challenges that we share. The fight against Jihadist terrorism and the crisis in the Mediterranean are the common battles we engage in with our French neighbours,” he added.
In his speech, Carles Puigdemont noted that the French Chamber of Commerce’s event “is an opportunity to strengthen the historic bonds that unite us” and “ratify Catalonia’s commitment to continue treating France as a preferential export destination, and to introduce ourselves as a partner in its interests”.
The President also noted that relations between the two countries on an economic level “are very good at the moment”, bearing in mind that “France is Catalonia’s number one market” and that in terms of direct foreign investment, “France has created the largest number of jobs in Catalonia.
This gives you an idea of the calibre of the relationship between the two countries,” he reiterated, adding that it is also obvious that “Catalonia is enormously attractive to foreign investors”.
The Chamber decided to award the Prix Pyrénées this year to the French group Vente Privée. The panel based its decision on the company’s strong commitment to the Spanish market with the purchase this year of Privalia, an online outlet that was founded in Barcelona in 2006 and represents one of the biggest startup buyouts in Spain. The group currently operates in 14 countries, has a workforce of almost 4,000 staff (490 in Spain) and a turnover in excess of 2,000 million euros.
The event was also attended by the French ambassador to Spain, Yves Saint Geours; the Minister for Business and Knowledge, Jordi Baiget; the French Consul in Barcelona, Edouard Beslay; the president of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, Miquel Valls, and the president of PIMEC, Josep González, among other dignitaries.