The coming 14th of March, Raül Romeva, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Catalan government will speak at the formation of a UK parliament discussion group on the current situation in Catalonia, with the campaign to hold the referendum on self-determination underway. The group was created by the UK parliament in response to requests from more than 20 MPs from the main parties represented in the House of Commons. This group, called the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Catalonia (APPG), is initially made up of members from the Conservatives, Labour, the Scottish National Party (SNP), the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats. Its statutes leave the door open to new members.
In his appearance, Mr Romeva will explain what the Catalan process towards the exercise of the right to self-determination is and what stage it is at. All UK MPs are invited to the event. After the minister’s speech, the president of the APPG, George Kerevan from the Scottish National Party, will comment on his speech and explain, broadly, the kind of work the APPG will do.
The APPG initiative is a response to the information given to the UK parliament by Sergi Marcén, the Government of Catalonia’s delegate to the United Kingdom, in December 2016. But, in some way, it also forms a link with a historical fact from the 18th century: on the 3rd and 4th of April 1714, the House of Lords was the scene of a great debate on the abandonment, without sufficient justification, of Catalan allies under attack from the French army of Louis XIV and from his grandson, Philip V, the king who would brutally subject the Catalans to Spanish laws and drastically abolish the constitution that had until then ruled the Catalan nation.
On the occasion of this event, so decisive for the subsequent history of the Catalans, a pamphlet was published called The Case of the Catalans Considerd, which was a summary of what happened at the time and a catalogue of grievances. In 2011, a hundred representatives of Catalan civil society were received by the UK parliament. They carried a letter, signed by thousands of Catalans, in which they thanked the English for what they had done to defend the rights of Catalonia (despite the weak will of the English monarchy of the time) and the recent motion by a member of the Welsh Assembly Hywel Williams in the UK parliament, for speaking in favour of the rights of Catalans to democratically decide their future. In the act of presenting the letter, Williams said that the right of nations without states to independence was a fight that was returning all over Europe and that they should stick together.
The APPG will begin its activities by joining in the protest made by 23 MPs, led by Kerevan, to the Spanish government on the decision by the High Court of Justice of Catalonia, a state body, to go ahead with the judicial process against the Speaker of the Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell, for having allowed elected representatives of the people to debate the mentioned referendum. The members of the UK parliament were urged to speak in favour of democracy in the Spanish state and against judicialising politics.
President Emeritus of CIEMEN
President of Plataforma pel Dret de Decidir (PDD)