At the meeting with the delegates of the Government abroad this morning, the President of the Government of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès i Garcia, stated that “we are the Government of a stateless nation with the greatest international presence” and “this will increase, because, with even stronger foreign action, we will be able to provide a better response to the needs and interests of Catalonia in the world.”
At the Palau de la Generalitat Aragonès received the representatives from Catalonia’s delegations, currently numbering 20, who ensure the country’s institutional presence in over 60 countries worldwide. The number will soon increase to 21, with the opening of a delegation in Colombia.
During the meeting, the head of the Executive stressed that “foreign action is one of the main priorities” of the Government and that “it has no ceiling.”“We will do more and will continue to strengthen it quantitatively and qualitatively,” he added, after that soon almost the whole of the Americas and the entire European Union will be covered, while steps are being taken to consolidate its presence in Asia and Africa. For this reason, the Ministry for Foreign Action and European Union “is focused exclusively on this competency” and in 2023 “it has had its highest ever budget.”
Despite this expansion, the president stated that “the aim is to reinforce the current network”, pointing out that “what we have to do now is get up to speed and provide the delegations with resources to ensure they function even better.” To this end, he noted that the Government now has envoys, who “will provide much swifter activation of the Government’s institutional presence wherever and whenever necessary.”
The purpose of this foreign presence is to provide “a more useful tool to defend the interests of Catalan citizens,” said Aragonès, who stressed that “it is positive for business, for opening new markets and for attracting new investment,” but also for the Catalan community abroad and for the country itself. “It is good for promoting our uniqueness, our identity, our language, our culture, ourwill to be and how we can contribute to tackling the great global challenges,” he said.
Finally, he pointed out that its presence around the world is also useful for Catalonia’s “allies, the governments with whom we have relations and share common interests,” with whom he wants to “create strategic relations that provide mutual benefit.” And he highlighted the role the delegates play in this, “strengthening trust and relations so that Catalonia is seen as a rigorous, reliable and permanent ally.”
The President also sought to highlight “the steps forward in feminising” the team of delegates abroad, which now includes seven women, “more women delegates than ever before.”
The President’s meeting with the Government delegates abroad coincided with their visit to Barcelona to take part in the twice-yearly meeting to coordinate the Government’s foreign action, share best practices and receive training sessions. In addition to meeting the President, they will also be attending meetings and presentations with the Cybersecurity Agency of Catalonia, Biocat, the Ministry of Health, the Association of Rural Initiatives of Catalonia and the Catalan Water Agency. The aim is to gain first-hand knowledge of the Government’s priority areas of action and provide all the tools the delegates need to act as the voice of the Government of Catalonia in the world.
A tool at the service of society
The network of foreign delegations is a fundamental tool for the Government of Catalonia's foreign action, at the service of all Catalan society. The Government has institutional representation in Brussels, France, the United Kingdom and Ireland, the United States and Canada, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, the Nordic and Baltic countries, South-east Europe, Central Europe, Andorra, North Africa, Senegal, Southern Africa, Japan, South Korea, Mexico and Central America, Brazil and the Southern Cone. A delegation will soon be established in Colombia.
After a phase of expansion, the priority of the Ministry for Foreign Action and European Union is to implement the current network in such a way as to consolidate and strengthen it to provide it with full capacity to work for the country.
The Government foreign delegations respond to three basic principles: usefulness, credibility and reputation. They are useful because they represent, defend and promote the general interests of Catalonia in the world, offer support and accompaniment to Catalan institutions, companies and citizens living abroad, and help provide a coordinated response to growing global challenges.
Government foreign delegations generate credibility because they internationalise Catalonia and its full potential abroad, and help in building a reputation because they form relationships of trust and mutual benefit around the world.
In addition to institutional representation, many of the delegations also house the offices of government agencies, such as ACCIÓ, the Catalan Tourist Board, the Catalan Institute for Cultural Companies (ICEC) and the Institut Ramon Llull.