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It's Carles Puigdemont's first trip since winning more than a million votes in Sunday's European Parliament election and becoming an MEP-elect. The president has travelled to the UK to give a speech at the invitation of the historic debating club The Oxford Union.

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Puigdemont's aim was to show that the Catalan independence movement is completely peaceful and maintains its active wish for dialogue with Spain. On that question, Puigdemont announced his willingness to consider "a second self-determination referendum, agreed-upon [with Madrid], binding and internationally recognised", where the two sides would decide on the date and question together, with a commitment to accept and apply the result, whatever it may be. He compared the idea to the 2014 referendum in Scotland and praised the attitude of then-prime minister David Cameron at that time, in comparison to what he describes as Spain's repression.

Puigdemont explained that the 2017 referendum was a starting point, "and not the end as some would like", and that the independence movement would never refuse the necessary dialogue or international mediation. At that point, he almost cheekily brought up the close historic ties between Catalonia and the UK, where many Catalans went into exile during the Franco regime. One of those, who he mentioned during his speech, was Josep Trueta, who became professor of Orthopaedics at Oxford University.

Whilst there may not be a war in Catalonia now, he said that "we denounce sadly that the Spanish state violates the civil rights of public and social representatives and, by extension, Catalan society". He lamented the fact, as he sees it, that setting out ballot boxes has become the worst crime you can commit in Spain.

He concluded that the independence movement's great victory has been in not giving up and made it clear he will continue his peaceful fight. From now on, that will include from the heart of Europe and the Parliament itself.

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