The President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, stated this morning, during the European Day commemoration event, that "Catalonia's commitment to the process of European construction is still in full force". “The future of the Catalan nation makes sense if it is an open future in our immediate environment, which is the European Union,” he stressed. In Europe, “we hope to have a space to meet the challenges of our society with respect to individual and collective freedoms and rights,” he said. And he added that "this hope is accompanied by our absolute commitment to the immediate challenges of Europe".
The president assured that Catalonia can contribute to this project the experience of a plural society, a common language, an open economy and technological capital, as well as “the connections that guarantee the supply of energy in Europe”, at a time when decisions on this supply “are key to strength in the face of the threat posed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in terms of energy.”. “The stronger we are in this area, the more freedom Europe will have to make decisions in defence of peace, human rights and the independence and freedom of th people” he stated.
In this sense, Aragonès has called for "restoring the peace" that has been severed by the war in Ukraine, which "is part of the basis of the European construction project", without it "we cannot imagine the future of progress and well-being that the whole of citizenship and humanity deserve". That is why we need to strengthen Europe’s strategic capabilities: in order to be able to give the right answers, to be able to have peace and in order to be able to make decisions as Europeans without external conditions”, he emphasised.
"The future belongs to young people"
The act of Europe, which has been held for the first time at the Palau de la Generalitat, began with the creation of a mural in solidarity with Ukraine painted live by street artist Dase, accompanied by Ukrainian artist Armen Hryhorov and a fifty-five students from the two Catalan schools mentoring the European Parliament: the Llor Foundation, in Sant Boi de Llobregat, and the JV Foix Institute, in Rubí.
When the mural was finished, which was hung on the facade of the Palau de la Generalitat, the president has stressed that, "if we want a better future, the present must be for young people", and that the role of youth is "absolutely necessary to boost the digital, green, feminist and inclusive future" promoted by the European Commission and shared by Catalonia.
“The look, voice and action of youth, if we really want to move forward, if we really want to make progress, must play a much more leading role in our societies,”, he added. "And this applies to European politics and Catalan politics".
For her part, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Open Government, Victória Alsina, noted that, “this year, the commemoration of Europe Day in the context of war in Ukraine demonstrates that peace remains the essential foundation of the European Union”. . Alsina praised Europe's sanctions on Russia, but also "that it has been in solidarity with Ukrainian citizens."
She was also critical of the European project, which ”must address its crisis of legitimacy with a seamless defense of a future based on human rights and democracy”. And she recalled the scandal of mass espionage of the Catalan Gate and claimed a European future "where software like Pegasus is drastically banned".
In this sense, despite the fact that Catalonia's European commitment is"unquestionable", the counselor considers that "the best way to be pro-Europe is by looking at the EU with critical eyes". “We want our voice to be heard and recognised, because Catalonia is also Europe, and we make Europe between all of us,” she stressed.
The European Day commemorative event was also attended by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Open Government, Victòria Alsina; the head of the European Parliament Office in Barcelona, Sergi Barrera; the Director of the Representation of the European Commission in Barcelona, Manuel Szapiro, and the Consul General of France, Olivier Ramadour. Also present were the Vice President of the Government and Minister of Digital and Territorial Policies, Jordi Puigneró; and the Minister of Education, Josep Gonzalez-Cambray, and the Consul General of Ukraine, Artem Vorobyov, among other authorities.