The Swedish Parliament debates about the Catalan independence process
This is the 7th international parliament to hold such a debate in the last weeks
The Catalan case has been debated today at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm. The event was organised by the Swedish Green Party (Miljöpartiet de Gröna), one of the governing parties in coalition with the Swedish social democrats. The Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (DIPLOCAT) cooperated in its organisation. Present among the MPs was the President of the European Affairs Commission of the Parliament, Carl Schlyter. The Swedish Parliament is the seventh parliament to have hosted such an event on the current political situation in Catalonia this year, following hearings at the Danish, Irish, Uruguayan, Paraguayan, US and Belgian parliaments.
The debate was opened by Green Party MP Valter Mutt, who welcomed the participants, and by Group of the Greens / European Free Alliance MEP Bodil Valero, who talked about the strength of the Catalan sovereign movement. Valero spoke of the reactions in Catalonia after the court sentence on the Catalan Statute of Autonomy, and of the massive demonstrations which followed.
Catalan speakers included Albert Royo, Secretary General of DIPLOCAT, Bel Olid, President of the Catalan Writers’ Association, and Jaume Farguell, President of the House of Europe in Berga and former Mayor of this city 100 km north of Barcelona, which has a long-standing relationship with Sweden. In their speeches, they explained the current situation in Catalonia from a cultural, political and social point of view.
Albert Royo outlined the political importance of the election of 27 September, that will act as a de facto independence referendum, and pledged for awareness at international level. He underlined the significance of parliamentary debates such as this one: ”We are proud to see that the international community is taking a vivid interest in the Catalan case, as today do the Swedish Members of Parliament, who are eager to understand the endeavour and claims of Catalonia. This is an important initiative to build bridges with the international public by facilitating understanding and dialogue”.
Bel Olid sustained that culture is one of the main richness Catalonia can offer to the world and that she would like to be able to show this more visibly. With a sense of humour, she presented Catalonia as a curious and different country, “where all are of mixed heritage”, and the only thing it wants is to be able to vote on its political future. Finally, Jaume Farguell talked about the long tradition of cooperation of people of his Berguedà region and Sweden, the office of his organisation House of Europe occupying the former Swedish Pavillon built for the Universal Exposition of 1929 in Barcelona.
During the debate, the Consul of Spain in Sweden, José Pedro Torrubia, asked for the floor and said that the right to self-determination does not apply to Catalonia because this is not foreseen in international law. He also defended the right of all Spaniards to decide on the future of Catalonia and said that the state will respond in an appropriate way to the results of the elections of 27 September.
In 2013, DIPLOCAT had already organised an academic conference at the University of Uppsala.