The Catalan "embassies" in Berlin, London and Geneva may continue to operate and serve the interests of the Generalitat -Catalan government- in these three countries, since the High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) has dismissed the request by the Spanish government for precautionary measures against the offices, which would have resulted in their immediate closure. Acting foreign minister Josep Borrell stumbles on his new crusade against the Generalitat, obsessed as he is with how to short-circuit any kind of action by Catalan authorities abroad, and in a new attempt to shut down, by whatever means, the international projection of the Catalan conflict. Coincidentally, Spain’s foreign ministry deployed its new legal weapons a few days after being accused of spying for months on the Catalan embassies in these three countries, Germany, United Kingdom and Switzerland. The ministry even, unexpectedly, provided the TSJC with confidential messages between the Generalitat and its own delegations.
Since 2012 especially, but from the beginning with more or less aggressiveness, the Spanish Government has wanted to limit the Catalan government’s action abroad. The truth is that the enormous effort by the Spanish government has been successful with EU institutions and with a significant part of the European foreign ministries. Yet the blockade to which the Generalitat has been subjected has become porous as it descended to other governmental instances, in the media of the respective territories and the international public opinion. That is precisely what stirred the various Spanish foreign ministers, with a rather scarce result, against a variety of initiatives carried out by the Generalitat or other pro-independence entities.
In these seven years of unequal battle between the Spanish state, with its political power and its broad economic resources, and the government of Catalonia, without power and with very limited economic resources, the Catalan authorities have done more than enough to get out of the institutional fray. Most importantly, because each new foreign minister appointed by the Kingdom of Spain has become increasingly obsessed with Catalonia. José Manuel García-Margallo began with his selective agreements with countries sensitive to Catalonia’s independence, followed by the ineffable Alfonso Dastis who became famous for denying 1Oct referendum violence in the international media, and now Borrell -closing these seven year cycle- who has had the Catalan issue as his only issue in the ministry over the more than one year he has been in that office.
Borrell has not been a good foreign minister although he has obtained the reward of being appointed high representative for EU foreign policy, a true consolation prize among the most recent ones decided by the heads of state and government. This kick to Europe will earn him, according to the Public Wages website, a salary of €27,903 per month (£25,600; $31,100), €4,184 for housing and €1,418 in allowances. A luxury maintenance after almost 28 years being paid -as this website says- public salaries in politics.