The President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès i Garcia, and the President of the Occitania Region,Carole Delga, today agreed to promote a strategic partnership between the two territories in key areas for the future, following their meeting at the Palau de la Generalitat.“What we are doing today is strengthening a long-standing relationship in order to respond to the challenges that we share and that we are obliged to face head-on”, the President said.
In the appearance after the meeting, Aragonès announced that the collaboration agreement contemplates“the promotion of a high-speed connection project between Barcelona and Toulouse”, in order“to favour sustainable mobility and channel the demand for transport through the railway”. The President stated that both Catalonia and Occitania are very clear that the railway is a priority in this field and considered it“essential” that Toulouse and Barcelona have this train connection“to facilitate the natural relationship between two neighbouring territories”. He specified that FGC has already started to prepare a study to design the project which, for the moment, indicates that it is economically viable due to “high demand”.
The partnership will run for four years and will be approved by both governments in the coming weeks. It is built on four pillars: a green deal, social rights and equality, mobility and economic development, and Euro-Mediterranean policy. Issues which, as the president pointed out,“are of vital interest for citizens, for economic development and for the cities and towns in our territories”.
Within the scope of the Green Deal, Aragonès explained that he shared with Delga the need“to tackle drought with better tools” and, at the same time, they highlighted“the need to work on a shared strategy for the exchange of experiences and good practices within the framework of the Pyrenees-Mediterranean Euroregion”. “We want to make the Euroregion much more resilient to drought”, he said.
With regard to the Euroregional sphere, the head of the Executive explained that“the Mediterranean macro-region is being promoted” with the conviction that“Europe must look to the Mediterranean”and that“alliances in the Mediterranean are a key aspect”. And, in this respect, he announced that in 2024 he will promote“a meeting of European Mediterranean territories, also open to the territories of the southern shore of the Mediterranean, to promote this Mediterranean outlook that the European institutions need”.
Beyond the four main pillars, the partnership will also affect other areas such as maritime and fisheries policy, the digital sphere and education, as well as a clear commitment to the promotion and defence of the regional languages, Occitan and Catalan.
President Aragonès and President Delga met previously, in February in Toulouse, during the transfer of the presidency of the Pyrenees-Mediterranean Euroregion, which passed from the Government of the Occitania Region to the Government of Catalonia.