Catalonia participates for the first time in Denmark’s main politics festival
The Folkemødet festival of Bornholm brings together more than 100,000 people during four days
The Catalan sovereign process has been the subject of one of today’s debates at the Folkemødet, an important politics festival, which took place on the Danish island of Bornholm for the sixth time. From Thursday until tomorrow, more than 25,000 people attend nearly 3,000 scheduled events, including conferences, debates, roundtables and concerts. The festival also attracts more than 700 journalists. The event was organized by the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (DIPLOCAT).
Jordi Solé, Secretary for Foreign and EU Affairs, and Albert Royo, Secretary General of DIPLOCAT gave to the audience an account of the current political situation in Catalonia and possible scenarios resulting from the upcoming Spanish elections at the end of the month. Albert Royo gave a brief summary of the major political events of recent years to an audience mostly unaware of the Catalan case.
“Catalonia has spent years calling for dialogue and negotiation and only gets Madrid’s silence as an answer,” said Royo. Jordi Solé focused on the current situation, explaining the sovereign road map for the coming months. Solé said the government is “determined to implement it, regardless of the outcome of the Spanish election.” Both Royo and Solé highlighted the democratic, peaceful, transversal and inclusive nature of the Catalan independence movement.
Solé and Royo were accompanied by two Danish politicians. The former Social Democrat MP Jacob Lund, who has participated in election observation trips in Catalonia, spoke about “Catalonia and the EU”. Lund said that “a national community can only be strong if it can decide for itself.” Also intervened Nikolaj Villumsen, MP of left wing party Enhedslisten and one of the promoters of the debate on Catalonia held at the Danish Parliament in May 2015. Villumsen addressed the issue of the Right to Decide of the Catalans, which he qualified as universal law, converting the Catalan case into a case of wider scope, because “democracy is nothing more than the opportunity to vote on basic issues”.
During the debate Jordi Solé explained the Government’s intention to open a Delegation in Denmark, which was received with applause by the audience. Attendees asked if there was possibility of a choice between independence and the status quo; about the respect for minorities in case of independence; and the fact that it is a rich region that wants to separate. On this last point, Villumsen replied that the Right to Decide on the political future goes beyond that point, and that Scotland “would have had the same right to the referendum if it had been a richer area.”
The Folkemødet festival (meeting or popular meeting in Danish) is focus point of the country’s political attention for four days. All parties, NGOs and large entities and organizations present in Denmark attend, nearly 800 in total. The presence of MPs and government representatives, who participate directly in discussions and dialogue with citizens, is common. Scheduled activities have in common is that all are freely accessible and that they aim to encourage participation and democratic dialogue on topics of general interest, such as Brexit or the refugee crisis, or on aspects of a more local nature, e.g. regarding the economy, new technologies, health and education.