Catalan government appoints first foreign affairs commissioner

Raül Romeva, the top election candidate for Junts pel Sí bloc, to take up post

For the first time, Catalonia will have its own foreign affairs commissioner after the new government decided to create a specific department.

The office will be headed by Raül Romeva, who ran as the top candidate for the pro-independence Junts pel Si bloc in the September regional election, but immediately stepped aside to let Artur Mas attempt to get himself reinstated.

The upgrade sends out the message that the Catalan government wants to multiply its efforts to attract international support for independence

Until now, international relations were tasked to a secretary general, a title that falls below that of the new position.

The upgrade sends out the message that the Catalan government wants to multiply its efforts to attract international support for its independence bid.

Romeva said Catalonia was in a position to find partners in the world – even though this mission has not proved especially fruitful in the past. Catalonia already has seven foreign delegations – in New York, London, Brussels, Paris, Berlin, Rome and Vienna – and plans are underway for a new office in Lisbon.

Romeva’s efforts will be watched closely by the Spanish foreign minister. In 2015, Catalan diplomatic visits to the US, Ireland, Belgium, Sweden, Uruguay and Paraguay resulted in protests from the Spanish embassies there.

English version by Susana Urra.