Catalonia’s pro-independence administration has accused the Spanish government of spying on its internal communications with its UK diplomatic mission after Madrid foreign ministry documents revealed Catalan plans to "get closer to Nicola Sturgeon".
Alfred Bosch, foreign affairs chief for the Catalan government, said documents filed by Madrid in a court battle to have Catalonia’s missions in London, Berlin and Geneva closed down included summaries of confidential exchanges between Catalan leaders and diplomats.
He challenged Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell to declare publicly how Catalan politicians were being spied on “here and in Europe” - for foreign missions in Germany and Switzerland have also been subject to surveillance, he claimed.
Borrell claims Catalanion overseas missions are “an instrument used to promote secessionist theories and denigrate Spain’s international standing” - for its mart, his ministry states it is part of its mission to “closely monitor any activity that seeks to undermine the image of Spain abroad and, in particular, all those whose purpose is to complete the independence project of the government of Catalonia”.
Whatever the truth of the matter, in one document, Sergi Marcen, the Catalan delegate in the UK, is told by Bosch’s department to “get closer to Nicola Sturgeon” to promote the idea of a “memorandum of understanding between Catalan and Scottish governments”, as well as contacting leaders of Amnesty International in Britain and the PEN International human rights organisation.
Bosch said none of this information, contained in a memo written following a meeting with Elin Jones, presiding officer of the Welsh Assembly, was made public.
Another note from the foreign ministry documents an alleged request by jailed Catalan politician Oriol Junqueras for foreign representatives of Catalonia to “develop contacts with representatives of ecclesiastical congregations” overseas, in order to “obtain the support of the Church to improve the situation of the politicians imprisoned in Catalonia”.