Spanish Government sacks Catalan Director General of Foreign Affairs & Agustí Colomines

Catalan MonitorNews Roundup

Photo: Spanish Government Cabinet (Credit: EFE)

By El Nacional

From 20th April, 2018

The first consequences are emerging from counselor Lluís Puig’s appearance at an event held at the delegation of the Catalan Government in the EU, an agency subject to the application of article 155, by the Spanish government. This Friday, the Council of Ministers approved the sacking of the Director General of Foreign Affairs of the Generalitat, Marina Borrell, news that had been mooted Thursday. According to the spokesman Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, the decision was taken because she was  performing tasks “incompatible with the agency’s current position”.

The dismissal is assumed to be in response to occurrences this past Wednesday, when the Generalitat counselor Lluís Puig participated in an event during Catalan Week in Brussels to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the writer Manuel de Pedrolo, which took place at the delegation of the Catalan Government in Brussels. The counselor had been invited by the Casal Català, a cultural association.

Upon hearing of Puig’s participation at the Brussels ceremony, the Spanish Government announced that it would take the “opportune measures” and that his participation would have “immediate consequences.” This morning, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alfonso Dastis, confirmed the intentions of the Spanish government and has called the participation of the counselor during the ceremony “the unpleasant incident”.

The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by which the Catalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Generalitat is now overseen, in accordance with article 155, states that it had given “precise instructions that no political event was to be organized” in the office of Catalonia in Brussels.

Borrell, appointed in February 2017, holds a degree in Advertising at London Metropolitan University and holds a Master’s Degree in Intercultural Communication in Business from the University of London. She has been the president of Catalans UK, an assembly organization for the Catalan community in the United Kingdom, where she has worked as a consultant for Crown World Mobility, Communicaid and the NGO Global Witness.

Sacking of Colomines

In addition, the director of the School of Public Administration of Catalonia, Agustí Colomines, has also fallen to article 155. The historian and professor of Contemporary History at the University of Barcelona has occupied this position since the beginning of 2016.

Colomines attributes his sacking to the attempt of the State to “liquidate the Generalitat”. “We are like hostages. As they have not been able to go for a big hunt they are eliminating us one by one,” he said. Colomines will be formally dismissed this Friday. This has been formally communicated to him the general secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Meritxell Masó, who attributed the decision to “a loss of confidence.”

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