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Exiled Catalan ministers Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí have turned up this Saturday at the Venice Biennale arts festival, where they are on their first trip to Italy since going into exile from Spain in late 2017. "Minister Lluís Puig has already been to l'Alguer in Sardinia, but it's the first trip to Italy for us," Comín told Catalan public television, adding that their presence in the historic city "is further proof of the internationalization of the Catalan cause throughout Europe, not just before the courts."

Comín and Ponsatí, numbers two and three respectively for the JxCat ticket in the European elections on May 26th, were accompanied by the party's number two in the Spanish Congress, Laura Borràs, Catalan parliamentary deputy Francesc de Dalmases, and the Catalan government's delegate in Italy, Luca Bellizzi, in a gesture that once again put on show the difference between European justice, which has left all exiled pro-independence leaders at liberty, and Spanish justice, which is still holding prisoners in custody after more than a year and a half, facing charges of rebellion and sedition.

"The European project is impossible from an approach based on hegemony and homogenization. Spain has not understood that the essence of Europe is respect for cultural diversity," said Comín. "The best way to contribute and be part of the European project is through being a Republic. If the people vote us in as MEPs, we'll tell Europe that Catalonia is one of the best representatives of its true spirit," he said, in the context of the current campaign for the European elections, in which the Catalan ministers have now been given the judicial green light to take part. 

Ponsatí, meanwhile, said that she was happy to be in Venice, having previously been in Slovenia on Friday, where the two received "a lot of support". "Our campaign is the proof that freedom is something that you conquer - and we will win it," she added.

Comín and Ponsati visited the Catalan pavilion at the Biennale, and coincided with Uruguay's Minister of Education and Culture, Maria Julia Muñoz.