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The Catalan president in exile, Carles Puigdemont, has proclaimed the "failure of the attempt to decapitate and liquidate" the independence movement and has illustrated this with the fact that despite the fact that the two main pro-independence parties, ERC and JxCAT, currently have their presidents and general secretaries “in prison or in exile” - in reference to himself and Jordi Sànchez for JxCAT and Oriol Junqueras and Marta Rovira for ERC - none of them have abandoned the goal of an independent Catalan republic”, because “we all express a determination to continue carrying out politics”.

Given this, said Puigdemont, in the address entitled "Independence, deactivated?" which he delivered today as part of the annual Catalan Summer University (UCE) in Prada de Conflent (Northern Catalonia), broadcast via internet, it was clear that “attempts by the State to deactivate political leadership have failed”. "We have been active from prison and exile," he added.

"This also shows that in exceptional situations - like ours - there are forms of leadership that are perfectly viable and perfectly effective." Carlos Puigdemont in an excerpt from today's address. 

Three years of repression

Speaking from Northern Catalonia - in the territory of the French state - Puigdemont recalled that the independence movement has undergone "three years of harsh repression" and pointed out that the Spanish authorities have "one of the two keys to resolving this political conflict," but that people must be aware that "a platform for the self-determination of Catalonia will not emerge from the Spanish state." "As long as we are part of the Spanish state, we will have no chance of surviving as a nation," said the Catalan MEP.

In addition, Puigdemont argued that "the side effects of repression", in reference to the internal independence movement clashes, between the JxCAT and ERC parties, are reparable, because where there is disorientation, disunity, anger and demobilization there can be guidance, unity, hope and mobilization”.

carles puigdemont uce prada acn

Carles Puigdemont, moments before speaking at the Catalan Summer University / ACN

"The aim of the Spanish state is to deactivate the will for independence," Puigdemont insisted, noting that "the goal of breaking the independence movement has failed." "Catalonia, because it is a nation, has the right to govern itself", reiterated the exiled president.

"The referendum of October 1st 2017 maintains its legitimacy," said Puigdemont in the final section of his speech, assuring that "the Spanish state has not been able to defeat us, and it will not be able to do so." For this reason, he called for the "international recognition of the Catalan Republic" to be sought.

Door open to the Catalan-speaking Countries

In the round of questions following his address, Puigdemont was asked about the països catalans - the Catalan-speaking countries, on all sides of Catalonia itself, and he responded that "they exist" in as much as "we share language, culture, history and national identity", but added that it is a “complex” reality and, therefore, “we must respect the decisions that their territories want”.

For this reason, he set out a principle on which other territories that are part of the Catalan-speaking lands could be part of a future Catalan Republic, noting that “the Valencian Country, the Balearic Islands and Northern Catalonia cannot be forced to make decisions that most of them do not want to take” but added that if there is a “democratically accredited will" to join the Republic, the door would not be closed.

Today's address was attended by MEPs Clara Ponsatí and Toni Comín; the director of the Catalan government's Casa de la Generalitat in Perpinyà, Josep Puigbert; Elsa Artadi, Laura Borràs, Francesc de Dalmases, Josep Costa and Albert Batet (JxCat); lawyer Gonzalo Boye and Puigdemont's wife, Marcela Topor.

Full speech of 

Top image: Puigdemont delivering his lecture at the Catalan Summer University / Europa Press

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