Thanks to the dignity, strength and courage of our imprisoned friends, this “internal affair” is now a European problem

Xabier Macias I President of the Coppieters Foundation I 10th anniversary speech.

News / 28.6.18

Coppieters Foundation celebrates it’s 10th anniversary in 2018.

Beyond the ideals of peace, democracy, diversity, equality and self-determination we stand for; our actions, our research, lectures, debates and events are driven by kindness, recognition and admiration towards our members, towards our partners, towards our network and towards our friends.

So allow me to have a word about some of them.

We live all throughout the small continent we call Europe and we may not have the chance to meet as often as we would like but we still develop bonds of friendship, appreciation and recognise ourselves in all of our partners.

That’s why I want to use this opportunity to remember some of our friends. Those that can not be with us Today:

Oriol Junqueras; whom I met in a bus station in our way towards our 2011 General Assembly in the Åland Islands. BAck then already, he mentioned how difficult it was to build bridges of dialogues with the Spanish State.

Marta Rovira; whom I met for the first time in Meran, South Tirol, back in 2013. We had dinner together. We exchanged views, opinions and ideas about politics and about Europe. Also about life and the child she was expecting.

Carme Forcadell; we were introduced for the first time less than a year ago. It was during the second edition of the Coppieters Awards in Brussels. We awarded her our highest distinction for her political work and her commitment to the right to self-determination.

Raül Romeva, with whom I run some joint environment projects in Africa and Latin America. It was in the framework of the World Social Forum where he was very engaged.

There I met also Anna Gabriel another friend who is currently in exile.

Today we have many friends imprisoned in Spain or seeking justice abroad because of their ideas, because their were true to a democratic mandate, because they listened to the people that through free and fair elections elected them, and mostly because they organised a referendum.

I think it is important that we remember them and what they stood for because history repeats itself.

Sadly this is the second time I have friends imprisoned.

The first time it was in 1975, under the Franco dictatorship.

Coppieters Foundation is a European Foundation, our focus is Europe and we do not often discuss specific cases but an exception is needed in this case.

Many among you are witnessing for the first time the limits of the Spanish Democracy. The Catalan case show very clearly who certain power structures built and supported under the Franco regime still exist nowadays. Freedoms and democracy are in peril and authoritarianism is finding its way back in the mainstream political arena.

Thanks to the dignity, strength and courage of our imprisoned friends and the Catalan people,  this “internal affair” is now a European problem. This case, and the brave defense of  our democracy and our freedoms is now in the agenda at a European level.

We hear more an more European voices that, even if late, point at the lack of individual freedoms and democracy in the Spanish state.

In Catalonia, Scotland, Galiza, Basque Country, Brittany and/or Corsica, to name a few cases, we share a struggle, we share an ambition. If one moves forward all of us move forward together.

That’s why it is important to show respect, warmth and solidarity with the Catalan people.

What they have achieved is very important for all of us, the peoples of Europe. Also for all of those who champion relentlessly a Europe of the peoples.

Xabier Macias

President of the Coppieters Foundation.

Landshut, 13th April 2018