On the eve of the Catalan independence trial, Spain's embassies are gearing up their activity. The aim: to counter the narrative from independence supporters who accuse Spain of not guaranteeing the prisoners a fair trial. Josep Borrell's foreign ministry knows perfectly well how important
For this reason, they've decided to organise contacts to explain Spain's position on the trial to the international media.
El Nacional has learnt that various embassies have called the local media in their respective countries in either today or tomorrow to make statements about their position on the trial. These include the missions in France, the UK and Mexico. The briefings are only open to the national media in the different countries as selected by the embassy.
"This Monday 11 at 11:30am we've called the press for a statement from the embassy on the start of the trial against those responsible for the events which occurred in Catalonia in October 2017", reads the message received by some Mexican journalists late last week:
El Nacional has contacted other Spanish embassies, including those in Paris and London, who have confirmed the contacts. Borrell's foreign ministry, however, declined to answer any further questions on the matter.
Two weeks ago, the ministry announced an international campaign to "counter pro-independence disinformation" during the trial. This falls under their Global Spain project which Borrell says is a reaction to the "attempts to discredit the reality of and disparage" Spain by independence supporters.
This, then, is a very direct attempt by the foreign ministry to try and get its version of events into the international press. International public opinion is important for the result of the trial and its effects, and the expected second half in the European Court of Human Rights, and the Spanish government knows it.
Someone else who knows it is the Catalan government. They're already preparing their response to Borrell. The independence movement will intensify its activity internationally over these months to denounce the state's repression and create a favourable atmosphere in public opinion.
Catalan foreign minister, Alfred Bosch, last week announced a tour of European capitals to explain "the whole truth" of the trial. Specifically, he said he'll speak to the media, politicians, ambassadors and think tanks, among others. This Tuesday, he will travel to Paris to reopen the Catalan government's delegation there, give a speech to the Institute of International and Strategic Relations and meet with various media outlets.
Likewise, ERC as a party and the members of Carles Puigdemont's government in exile will travel around Europe to explain the pro-independence version of the situation.