“We should find a balance between diplomacy and paradiplomacy” Lorena López de Lacalle on #paradiplomacy

News / 08.5.15

During the General Assembly in Bautzen from April 16 to April 18, the Centre Maurits Coppieters had the chance to chat with Lorena López de Lacalle, Vice President of EFA and International Relations Secretary at the National Executive of Eusko Alkartasuna and Jordi Solé, Secretary General of EFA and member of the Catalan Parliament’s Committee on Cooperation, Foreign and EU Affairs. Both are co-authors of the Coppieters’ publication “Paradiplomacy by subnational jurisdictions” and were subsequently interviewed with regard to their positions on paradiplomacy in Catalonia and the Basque Country.

Lorena López de Lacalle asserted that “paradiplomacy has been helpful for the Basque Country in the strive for more autonomy (…) but it is not enough…”, advocating for a focus on “real” diplomacy as opposed to paradiplomacy in the future. To her, since the Basque ambitions for a greater say in international relations and communications with external actors are continuously blocked by the Spanish Constitutional Court, “we should find a balance between paradiplomacy and “real” diplomacy”.

Concerning future developments of paradiplomacy in the Basque Country, she concluded that “we should be brave enough to ask for real independence and thus, real diplomacy”.

Jordi Solé, on the other hand, voiced a different outlook towards the use of paradiplomacy in sub-state foreign affairs and affirms the Catalan “need to communicate with other [external] actors (…) and with the barrier of not yet being a state, there is the need to advance external action through paradiplomacy tools”. To him, paradiplomacy constitutes an important instrument for communicating Catalan democratic ambitions of self-determination (as in the in Catalan referendum) to Europe and the world.  There would be “the need of sub-state governance to get in touch with actors outside the state, not on the national level, to explain the Catalan goals and ambitions…”.