Politics

Catalonia Representatives Visit Croatia, Ignored by Officials

By 15 May 2019

ZAGREB, May 15, 2019 - The Minister of Foreign Action, Institutional Relations and Transparency of Catalonia, Alfred Bosch, visited Croatia's northern Varaždin County on Wednesday, expressing great interest in the region and possible cooperation in industry and trade, while his host, County Prefect Radimir Čačić expressed surprise that state officials would not meet with the Catalan official, who is heading a Catalan government delegation on a working visit to Croatia.

After meeting with Čačić, Minister Bosch said that there was a lot of room for cooperation, particularly in industry and trade. The talks also focused on health tourism, spas and education.

We are interested in cooperation in education, particularly secondary education. The achievements of Varaždin County in that area are inspiring. We can cooperate in all these areas and will continue talks. I am certain that we will reach certain agreements and utilise those opportunities, Bosch said.

Čačić underscored the possibility of cooperation in the car industry and mentioned in that context the SEAT car industry, which is headquartered in Catalonia, and the Boxmark company, which operates in Varaždin's business zone.

We are certain that we will identify opportunities and achieve cooperation of common interest, Čačić said, adding that communication was being sought with Catalonia's health system with regard to health tourism.

Čačić added that Catalonia "is incomparably more interesting to us than we are to Catalonia, as it has a population of 7.6 million people and a per capita GDP that is three times higher."

Čačić did not want to speculate why the president and prime minister would not meet with the Catalan delegation like Slovenia's President Borut Pahor and many others, who met with Bosch before he arrived in Croatia.

The Catalan delegation will be in Zagreb this evening where it will attend a concert - "Catalonia, Harmony," which will be held ahead of a panel discussion where Bosch will present the programme of the Catalan Delegation to Southeast Europe, called European Dignity, with emphasis on the future of human rights in Europe and on culture as the backbone of dialogue, respect, democracy, peace and development in building a free, open and inclusive Europe.

The Catalan government has a representation in Zagreb which covers almost all of Southeast Europe and maintains relations with Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Bulgaria and Greece.

The representations, which Spanish media outlets refer to as "embassies of Catalonia", were closed in the autumn of 2017 when the Spanish government took over direct rule over the province, which is one of Spain's 17 autonomous regions.

After pro-independence parties won last year's elections in Catalonia and formed the government, Bosch, a member of the Catalan Republican Left party (ERC) became the Minister of Foreign Action, Institutional Relations and Transparency of Catalonia.

The Delegation of the Government of Catalonia reopened its office in Zagreb in March. "Zagreb is an important city in this region, it has a favourable strategic position," Bosch told Hina in an interview in March.

More news about relations between Croatia and Catalonia can be found in the Politics section.

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