Catalonia’s President Calls on Region to Follow Slovenia’s Example

By , 12 Dec 2018, 12:46 PM News
Milan Kučan and Quim Torra in Ljubljana Milan Kučan and Quim Torra in Ljubljana The Catalan government's Twitter account

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The Catalan President Quim Torra visited Slovenia last week on a two-day trip, where he called for international mediation to help organise negotiations between the Catalan and Spanish authorities to deal with the region’s ongoing crisis over its proposed independence. Speaking at an event in Ljubljana hosted by the Slovenian MEP Ivo Vajgl (Alde/DeSUS) and former President Milan Kučan, Torra noted that a number of figures associated with the Catalan independence movement are in exile from Spain, while others are in jail, and that outside intervention is needed to deal with the situation in a fair and balanced manner. The full text of Predicent Torra's speech in Ljubljana can be read, in English, here. In addition to outlining the situation in Catalonia, Torra thanked Slovenian MPs and artists for their support, and noted that small nations, such as Slovenia and - perhaps one day - Catalonia, can bring prosperty to their citizens if based on democracy and strong institutions.

Torra also met informally with President Borut Pahor, who said that the independence movement was a matter for the Catalan people and Spain, and that it would not be appropriate for Slovenia to interfere.

A few days later, on Saturday December 8, Torra was in Brussels, where AFP reported that he called on Catalans to follow “the Slovenian route” to independence. "Slovenians decided to go ahead with all the consequences. Let's do like them and be ready for anything to live freely," he said.

Torra’s predecessor, Carles Puigdemont, is now living in exile in Belgium, and visited Slovenia during the summer of 1991 to observe its push for independence, which was declared unilaterally on June 25 of that year. This led to a 10-day war with the Yugoslav Army in which 62 people were killed, and sparked years of much bloodier conflicts in the Balkans.

Related: The Birth of Slovenia, BBC documentary

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