The Minister for Foreign Action and European Union, Meritxell Serret i Aleu, took part this afternoon in the 156th plenary session of the Committee of the Regions. The session, held at the European Parliament, discussed the role of local and regional institutions in defending democracy and the use of disinformation as a political tool.
"Fascism cannot be whitewashed or flirted with; fascism must be fought against", said Minister Serret at the European Parliament. The head of Foreign Action and the European Union claimed that “we, as progressive parties, will mobilise today like never before" to “tackle head-on the threats to rights and freedoms" in the wake of the rise of the far right across Europe.
Minister Serret also warned that the rise of the far right is directly affecting Europe's cultural and linguistic wealth. For this reason, Serret stated that the Government of Catalonia "will defend the right of everyone to live fully and normally in their own language"and she warned that "we will not stop until Catalan is recognised as an official language in the European Union"
The plenary session of the Committee of the Regions also addressed the use of disinformation as a political tool. In this regard, Minister Serret remarked that "Catalonia has suffered and continues to suffer these lies, these baseless criminalising hate speeches" and recalled how CatalanGate exposed"the deficiencies and weaknesses of our democracies". These weaknesses, according to Serret, "have opened the door to the far right and, in the caseof the Pegasus scandal in Spain, have also revealed the shamelessness of the Spanish socialists who have not condemned it and have used it to attack the independence movement in Catalonia, a peaceful and legitimate project defended by millions of European citizens".
The 156th plenary session of the Committee of the Regions was attended by the European Commission's Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová; by the Member of the European Parliament and Chair of the Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation, and Strengthening Integrity, Transparency and Accountability in the European Parliament (ING2), Raphaël Glucksmann;and the Chair of the CIVEX Commission, Patrick Molinoz.
Support for Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí on behalf of the Government
This morning from Brussels, Minister Serret conveyed the Government's support for Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí after the General Court of the European Union issued its ruling on their parliamentary immunity. Serret said that "the sentence handed out today was not the one we wanted", but she maintains "total confidence in the strategies of the defence team and, above all, in that we will find a response to the violations of rights that we systematically suffer at the hands of the Spanish State and Spanish justice in the European Justice system and international bodies".
Meeting between members of the Four Motors for Europe and representatives of the European Commission
On her sixth institutional trip to Brussels, Minister Serret met with members of the Four Motors for Europe and representatives of the European Commission.
This morning's meeting saw the presentation of the joint declaration "New economic perspectives: Transformation as an opportunity for the future viability of the EU and its regions", a position statement signed by the partner governments of the Four Motors for Europe (4ME)– Baden-Württemberg, Lombardy, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Catalonia – which aims to warn, among other things, about the lack of direct regional participation in key EU funds, such as the NextGenerationEU package.
The meeting was attended by the State Secretary for Political Coordination and Europe in the State Ministry of Baden-Württemberg, Florian Hassler; the State Secretary of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economics, Labour and Tourism, Patrick Rapp; the Deputy Director General for the Environment, Europe and International Affairs of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Manuelle Dupuy; and the Undersecretary for International and European Relations of Lombardy, Raffaele Cattaneo.
Yesterday, on the first day of her trip to Brussels, Minister Serret took part in a cultural event organised by Baden-Württemberg to promote the food and wine of the regions that make up the 4ME network. During the event, Serret reported that Catalonia will be the World Region of Gastronomy in 2025 and reaffirmed the Government's commitment to the Four Motors network to "make Europe more solid"and "contribute to advancing the European project"
Meeting with Catalan students and officials from European institutions
During the second day of the trip, Minister Serret also met with Catalans working in European institutions or on internships. The meeting served to forge links, to recognise Catalan talent working in European institutions and to offer the Government's support to students and employees of these European institutions. The delegate of the Government to the European Union, Ignasi Centelles, also took part in the meeting.