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The Catalan government has decided to re-appoint Ferran Mascarell, its representative in Madrid, who was sacked by the Spanish government when it imposed direct rule on Catalonia last October.

This is the latest announcement in a series of decisions naming new officials, including several who will represent the Catalan government outside Catalonia: exiled minister Meritxell Serret is to be Catalonia's new representative at the European Union, based in Brussels, while the former delegate in Paris, Martí Anglada, is to be the new representative in the Nordic countries. As well, the executive has nominated Pau Villòria as 155 commissioner - in charge of investigating all the effects of the Spanish government's takeover of the Catalan administration under article 155 of the constitution.

The choice of Pau Villòria for the 155 role was announced by Elsa Artadi, minister of the presidency. Villòria, qualified in law and public administration and with a long and varied public service background, thus presents an essentially technical background for a role with a high political importance.  

Meanwhile, Catalan foreign minister Ernest Maragall explained the decision to appoint Serret in the key role in Brussels. "It is not intended as a homage or protection," he said, "but rather is based on responsibility and dedication, so that she can act as representative with full capacity and with all the functions and powers that the role demands," said the Catalan minister. Serret has been in exile in the Belgian capital since November last year.

Maragall also announced that the government will restore Manuel Manonelles as representative in Switzerland; Sergi Marcén, in the United Kingdom and Ireland; Lucca Bellicci, in Italy; and in Germany, Maria Kapretz.

Furthermore, on Tuesday the Catalan cabinet approved decrees to reopen these delegations, as well as those of France and the United States. The nomination of Anglada for the post in the Nordic countries will be part of the second phase of restoration of Catalonia's presence in the exterior, which will include also representation in Paris, Portugal, the Balkans and other Mediterranean countries, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.

For this reason, explained Maragall, when the entire process is complete, the number of Catalan delegations abroad will be greater than prior to the dismissals under article 155.