The President of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Pere Aragonès i Garcia, and the Minister for Foreign Action and European Union, Meritxell Serret i Aleu, held two high-level meetings this afternoon with the European Commission in Brussels to reinforce collaboration with the European Union's executive. These meetings are in addition to the one that Aragonès and Minister Mas held this morning with commissioner Gentiloni and which, in the words of the president, represent"the complete return to normal relations between the Generalitat de Catalunya and the European Commission".
Specifically, Aragonès and Serret met with the European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica, and the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira.
As Serret explained in a press conference following the two meetings, the meetings demonstrate "the clear contribution and involvement of Catalonia in the European project". "We are engaging in extensive dialogue with the European institutions," said the minister.
Aragonès and Serret outlined to Commissioner Šuica the government's policies aimed at transitioning towards a society with an ageing population, a challenge faced by the entire European Union and a priority for the Catalan Government. Specifically, they explained the measures that the Generalitat de Catalunya has adopted to adapt to the significant increase in the demographic share of older people in Catalan society.
They also discussed with Commissioner Šuica the commitment of the Catalan Government to confront xenophobic discourse in the run-up to the European elections scheduled for next June. "We agreed on the need to combat all xenophobic discourses that attempt to associate immigration with negative aspects in order to undermine coexistence," said the minister.
Regarding the meeting with Commissioner Ferreira, the minister emphasised the importance of the Generalitat de Catalunya’s Euro-Mediterranean, such as the Mediterranean macroregion, which aims to address common challenges such as the climate emergency. "It is a strategy that emphasises the importance of the Mediterranean and the future of Europe, and that allows us to align our efforts," declared Serret.
The official status of Catalan in European institutions was also discussed at the meetings. Serret stressed that "this is a topic that we bring to the table, with a willingness to collaborate, cooperate, and contribute to solidifying the proposal". For months now, the Government has been working on the process of providing information to European institutions to clarify doubts about the costs and administrative procedures involved.
Tomorrow, another meeting with the Vice-president of the European Commission
The agenda of President Aragonès and Minister Serret continues tomorrow in Brussels. Both will hold a meeting with the Vice-President of the European Commission and head the European Green Deal, Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight, Maroš Šefčovič.
Aragonès will also participate in the conference organised by the Self-Determination Caucus, the group of Members of the European Parliament advocating for a European mechanism of clarity so that the stateless nations of the EU can exercise self-determination. The Minister for Foreign Action will take part in the afternoon (from 3 pm) in the debate on the priorities of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the Union in the plenary session of the Committee of the Regions, which can be followed online.
14 meetings with 10 members of the European Commission in less than 2 years
The Government's priority is to re-establish direct dialogue with governments, international organisations and European institutions. With this trip, the Catalan government will have held up to 14 meetings with 10 members of the European Commission in less than two years.
Today, the President also met with the European Commissioner for Economy, Paolo Gentiloni. He was accompanied by Minister Mas Guix and the Government Secretary for Foreign Action, Miquel Royo.