The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Institutional Relations and Transparency, Raül Romeva, gave the inaugural address this Monday on ‘Catalonia in the European Union of Brexit’ as part of a series of conferences on ‘Sovereignty and self-determination in the times of Brexit’ held at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF). The event was co-organised by the university, the Barcelona Institute for International Studies (IBEI) and the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat).
Minister Romeva contended that “Brexit is not the cause of the crisis in the European Union; rather, the European project is undergoing an identity crisis and Brexit is just one of the symptoms”. “There is a need to return to the original identity of the Union based on common principles such as freedom, democracy and solidarity”, he assured.
Romeva also affirmed that the European Union will “continue to function as a club of states” and in order to overcome the crisis that the EU is currently undergoing “Europeans need to be able to decide how to reconfigure their existence and articulate a common project based on their respective identities and sovereignties”. “It is only by listening to its citizens that Europe can become a viable project”, the Minister explained. In this respect, the identity crisis Europe is facing “can only be overcome with more democracy”. “The future of Europe must be defined from a democratic standpoint and not by imposition”, he concluded.
The conference addressed the possible consequences for the future of the European Union after Brexit and self-determination movements. Following the conference, a round-table discussion was held with Jessica Almqvist, professor of International Law at the Autonomous University of Madrid, the Chair in Scottish Politics at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland), Michael Keating; and the professor of International Law at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), Jan Wouters. The proceedings were moderated by professor of Political Science at the UPF and director of IBEI Jacint Jordana and the presentation was given by the director of UPF’s Department of Political and Social Sciences, David Sancho.