Catalonia

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Introduction

Québec's relations with Catalonia demonstrate a mutual and clear interest that has never waivered in recent decades. Catalonia's strategic position within Europe together with its leadership in economy, technology, culture and tourism make it an important partner for expanding our exports and promoting our culture and expertise.

Social issues common to Québec and Catalonia are:

  • Cultural diversity
  • Identity issues
  • Language policies and language protection
  • Immigrant integration
  • Openness to the world
  • Economic development in general
  • And more specifically, the development of the knowledge economy.

Political relations

With Spain's return to democracy (late 1970s), Catalonia took an interest in Québec institutions and legislation as it explored models for its own development as an autonomous government. Following several missions carried out by Catalonia and Québec in the early 1980s, both governments decided to formalize emerging cooperation through an exchange of letters stipulating that the Québec government agreed to cooperate “in all areas of its jurisdiction” with the Catalan government. A framework agreement (in French) signed in 1996 specified areas of cooperation to be targeted and created the Québec-Catalonia Joint Committee.

Bilateral relations resulted, based on respect and mutual interest. Over the following three decades, Catalonia and Québec have mutually observed, visited, analyzed and supported each other. Ties have been maintained and have reached a high degree of maturity through the organization of symposia, conferences and forums, the exchange of practices and ways of operating, hosting economic, institutional and political missions, and supporting cooperation projects and artistic performances in the partner territory.

The parliaments of Québec and Catalonia also established a Québec - Catalonia Interparliamentary Commission (CIQC) to forge closer ties and sustain relations between the two legislative assemblies.

The Catalan government has two representative organizations in North America:

  • The Montréal ACC1Ó office (Catalonia Competitiveness Agency), which has been representing the economic and commercial interests of Catalonia in Canada and Québec since 2001
  • The Delegation of the Government of Catalonia to the United States, which has been overseeing bilateral relations with the United States and Canada (hence Québec) since it opened in New York City in January 2008

Québec and Catalonia's respective networks of government offices abroad established close and exceptional collaboration at events held in territories where they are both present.

In recent years, numerous missions and visits have taken place in sectors of common interest such as:

  • Health
  • Social affairs
  • Public safety
  • Culture
  • Communications
  • Education
  • Language policy
  • Immigration
  • Trade
  • Electoral processes
  • Labour mobility

Ministerial missions to Catalonia

  • Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities, Kathleen Weil: Barcelona, February 1-3, 2012
  • Premier Jean Charest and Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay: Barcelona and Madrid, October 7, 10 and 11, 2011
  • Minister of Transport, Sam Hamad: Barcelona, September 13-16, 2010
  • Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, Pierre Arcand: Madrid, Barcelona and Tàrrega, September 6-12, 2009
  • Minister of Health and Social Services, Philippe Couillard: Madrid, Seville, Salamanca and Barcelona, September 19-27, 2006
  • Minister for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs and Aboriginal Affairs, Benoît Pelletier: Barcelona, November 16-17, 2004
  • Deputy Premier and Minister of International Relations, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay: Barcelona, June 19-23, 2004
  • Minister of Public Safety, Jacques Chagnon: Barcelona, July 30-August 3, 2003

Ministerial visits from Catalonia

  • Visit of the Minister of the Education of Catalonia Mrs Rigau i Oliver in May, 2014
  • Vice President of the Government of Catalonia, Joana Ortega I Alemany
  • Minister of Territory and Sustainability, Lluís Recoder: August 27-31, 2011
  • Catalonian Vice-President, Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira: July 4-7, 2010
  • Minister of Education, Ernest Maragall: October 13-16, 2009
  • Minister of Governance and Public Administration, Jordi Ausàs: September 23-26, 2008
  • Minister of Employment and Industry, Josep Rañé: April 5-8, 2006
  • Minister of Universities, Research and the Information Society, Carlès Sola: March 5-7, 2006
  • Catalan Minister of the Environment, Salvador Milà: December 5-6, 2005
  • Prime Minister of Catalonia, Josep Bargallo: May 2-4, 2005
  • Catalan Minister of Home Affairs, Montserrat Tura: December 9, 2004
  • Catalan Minister of Governance and Institutional Relations, Josep Maria Pelegrí i Aixut: February 20-22, 2003
  • Prime Minister of Catalonia, Artur Mas: February 16-18, 2003
  • Catalan Minister of Culture, Jordi Vilajoana: February 13-18, 2003

Areas of collaboration

Economy

The growth of Catalan investments in Québec and the importance of bilateral trade between Catalonia and Québec are creating new business opportunities for Québec companies, particularly in technology-intensive sectors.

Cooperation between Québec and Catalonia is driven by sectors with strong economic potential such as:

  • Biotechnology
  • Agri-food sector
  • Information and communication technology
  • Publishing
  • Tourism
  • The environment
  • Applied health research

The knowledge economy is also making a significant contribution to cooperation through the establishment of the Montréal-Barcelona Summer School on Management of Creativity, now in its fifth edition 2013.

Eight Québec companies have operations in Catalonia, and a dozen Catalan firms have set up operations in Québec.

Air Transat's direct Montréal - Barcelona air link, inaugurated in May, 2007, has had a positive effect on the growth of tourism exchanges.

Culture

Culture is probably the most important aspect of Québec-Catalan relations. Similarities between the two regions with respect to identity, culture and language protection have paved the way for forging close and promising cultural ties. Within the span of less than a year, for instance, Québec was showcased at two major cultural events in Catalonia: LIBER (an international book fair held in Barcelona in October, 2008) and Fira Tàrrega (a circus and street arts festival held in the Catalan city of Tàrrega in September, 2009). And, in 2012, the City of Montréal was the guest of honour at the La Mercè Festival.

In recent years, Québec has become Catalonia's most important Canadian partner in the cultural sector since Québec artists account for the bulk of Canada's cultural presence in Catalonia. A number of Québec festivals, companies and artists perform regularly in Catalonia:

  • Cirque du Soleil
  • Cirque Eloize
  • Just for Laughs Festival
  • Marie Chouinard
  • Grands Ballets Canadiens
  • La La La Human Steps
  • Robert Lepage
  • Wajdi Mouawad
  • The 7 Fingers
  • Dynamo Theatre
  • Le Carrousel Theatre

An increasing number of Québec films are also being screened and appreciated in Catalonia: Québec was the guest of honour at FILMETS 2011 (Badalona [Barcelona] International Short Film Festival).

Tourism

Tourism also represents a vector for expanding bilateral economic relations between Québec and Catalonia. Air Transat inaugurated its Montréal-Madrid air link in the summer of 2006, followed by a Montréal-Barcelona air link in May, 2007. These direct flights have had a positive effect on the growth of tourism exchanges and contribute to bolstering Québec tourism image in Catalonia.

Mobility

In order to adapt employment services in Catalonia to the labour market's current and future needs, the Catalan government took steps focusing on three core areas: innovation, integration and internationalization. With respect to internationalization, the Catalan government wishes to foster the international expansion of Catalan businesses and enable its workers to have access to job offers and internships abroad.

Recognizing their mutual interest in increasing collaboration to foster the mobility of Catalan workers wishing to come to Québec and facilitate the socio-professional integration of those benefiting from such mobility, both governments signed a Joint Declaration (in French) on labour mobility cooperation between Québec and Catalonia in Barcelona on February 2, 2012.

Youth

During his visit to Québec, the Vice President of Catalonia and the CEO of OQMJ (Québec World Office for Youth) signed an Agreement between the OQMJ and the Government of Catalonia through the intermediary of the Youth Secretariat of Catalan's Ministry of Social Action and Citizenship. The agreement was signed on July 10, 2010, and provides opportunities for young people to hone their professional qualifications through exchanges. (link)

In signing the agreement, both parties committed to implementing a joint exchange program for young Québec and Catalan adults enabling them to carry out a project or participate in a multilateral event.

Cooperation

The Cooperation Agreement between the Government of Québec and the Autonomous Government of Catalonia (in French), signed in 1996 created the Joint Cooperation Committee, which meets biennially to take stock of initiatives undertaken during the two-year period, devise and approve a work program for the next two years and reach consensus on sectoral agreements that could be signed. The next meeting of the Québec-Catalonia Joint Cooperation Committee will take place in Barcelona in the spring of 2017.

Since the Québec-Catalonia Joint Cooperation Committee's inception, it has received over one hundred cooperation projects pertaining to virtually all sectors that fall within the jurisdiction of both parties:

  • Culture
  • Research, science and technology
  • Language
  • Health
  • Economy and trade
  • Education
  • Public and civil safety
  • Youth
  • Natural resources
  • Electoral processes

You can also consult the list of projects selected under this agreement.

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Last update: 2017-11-23 3:32:54 PM