Back in Waterloo after a conference in Finland, and especially after a long-term arrest in Germany, Carles Puigdemont, the former President of Catalonia, declared during his last press conference at the Catalonia’s representation office in Brussels that, “It was not an easy trip, nor a short trip, nor the trip I was expecting, but I’m at least back on Catalan soil”.
Welcomed in Brussels by the current Catalan leader, Quim Torra, the latter believes that, “Today is a defeat for the Spanish State. Spain has lost the European legal battle.” How many defeats will the Spanish State need to understand that this political problem needs a political solution? The two men now want a European response, and they will lead a strategy of internationalization of the situation. The presence of Carles Puigdemont in the European capital is in this sense an advantage, they said. “It’s not the end of the trip. I will travel to the last corner of our continent to defend the just cause of the Catalan people,” said Mr. Puigdemont.
A few weeks before the communal elections (October 14th) and a few months before the Belgian regional and federal elections (May 26th, 2019), Puigdemont also recalled that his presence in Brussels, “had nothing to do with Belgian politics”. “We do not want to interfere in Belgian politics and have a lot of respect for the political reality of the country.”
Puigdemont has declared that he is a free European, everywhere except in Spain. He does not want to rely on European leaders but on the citizens of the Union. He added that, “Europe is not only an institution made up of States, politicians and European leaders. It is an institution full of European citizens. I am sure that the majority of the public believes that the fundamental values of democracy are of paramount importance.”
He was again optimistic about the new Spanish government led by Socialist Pedro Sanchez. “A dialogue has started. And that is completely new.” Wouldn’t this road trip, which began in Finland, be the beginning of a legitimacy found for Puigdemont ? Only the future will tell.