Catalan president in exile, Carles Puigdemont, has taken part this Sunday afternoon in the international "small nations" forum Beyond Borders in Edinburgh. Puigdemont arrived in the Scottish capital on Friday to give a talk setting out Catalonia's situation: Where Now for Catalonia and Europe?
In Puigdemont's address, part of the final session of this two-day event aimed at dialogue and cultural exchange, the exiled president spoke about the Catalan reality and the situation of the country's political prisoners and exiles. "I would never suspend the Declaration of Catalan Independence made on 27th October last year", affirmed Puigdemont. He also commented on the key ingredients of the political process in Catalonia, in its relationship with the Spanish state: "The recipe for independence consists of people, human rights and mutual respect. The Catalan cake is a democracy cake". The exiled leader also stated in Scotland that there were more real possibilities for dialogue under the Spanish government led by Pedro Sánchez, in power in Madrid since June.
In his first journey out of Belgium since his return from Germany in July, after Spain's extradition case against him had come to nothing, the exiled president affirmed the international character of the Catalan process. "The Catalan case can help others to solve the most important conflict of our time: the self-determination of peoples", he declared.
"The majority of violent conflicts in the world since the Second World War have their origins in the denial of the right to self-determination", said Puigdemont, speaking in the presence of British human rights lawyer Ben Emmerson, member of the exiled Catalan politicians's legal team, who also took part in the conference.
Puigdemont asserted, once again, that his duty is to allow the Catalan people to decide their own future. He also referred to his memory of the death of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco when the Catalan leader was 13 years old, explaining that he understood what it was "to live without a democratic system". "We have tried to solve the Catalan problem in several ways: a fiscal pact, a non-binding referendum... The answer has always been no", he said.
Earlier, on Saturday, Puigdemont had had a meeting with lawyer Aamer Anwar, who until now has represented the minister Clara Ponsatí, in the Scottish town of Traquair. After Puigdemont's return to the EU capital, he is scheduled to meet with current Catalan president Quim Torra in Waterloo (Belgium) on Monday.