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24 Jun 2009

Québec Government Office in Barcelona marks its 10th anniversary

BQB Director Claude Fleury (left) with Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira, Vice-President of Catalonia, and Roser Clavell, Deputy Minister of External Affairs and Cooperation. Photo: Eva Guillamet, <i>e-notícies</i> 

This year, Québec’s Fête nationale was celebrated in Catalonia in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of Québec Government Office in Barcelona (BQB). More than 200 people from all walks of live attended an event held on June 18 at the Palau Moja, an 18th century residential palace that now houses the offices of the Catalan Ministry of Culture.

Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira, Vice-President of Catalonia, gave a speech emphasizing the bonds of friendship that have connected Catalonia and Québec for many years. Other political figures in attendance included Roser Clavell, Deputy Minister of External Affairs and Cooperation; Oriol Amorós, Secretary for Immigration; Josep Maria Rañé, President of the Catalan Council on Economic and Social Work; Lesley-Ann Reed de Rodriguez, Trade Commissioner, Consulate of Canada; and Josep M. Calmet, Honorary Consul of Canada.

In his opening remarks, BQB Director Claude Fleury focused on Québec’s privileged relationship with Catalonia—two geographically distant regions that share deeply held convictions and common values. “Québec has been a source of inspiration for its governance model within the Canadian federation, its linguistic and cultural policies and its technological development. Catalonia has been a source of inspiration for its dynamic economy, its commitment to sustainable development, its creativity and its ability to image major events such as the Universal Cultural Forum,” said Mr. Fleury.

Mr. Fleury also acknowledged the contributions of the team that laid the groundwork for Québec’s Office in Barcelona, including his predecessors Marcel Gaudreau and Michelle Bussières.

In the 10 years since Québec established an official presence in Catalonia and the Iberian Peninsula, economic, scientific and industrial activities have nearly doubled, thanks in particular to export support, business start-ups, trade networking, investments and the establishment of research networks. In addition, Québec artists and performers continue to win rave reviews on the Spanish festival circuit and in the Catalan cultural arena. This year, Quebecers will be in the spotlight at two festivals in Spain: FiraTàrrega, one of Europe’s leading street and performing arts festivals, and the Tolosa International Puppet Festival (Basque region).

Examples of concrete initiatives aimed at strengthening Québec-Catalonia relations include internships for young people, year-round non-stop air links, urban cooperation programs such as the Montreal-Barcelona Creativity Summer School and Québec City’s candidacy for the 2016 Universal Cultural Forum.

For more than 30 years, Québec and Catalonia have shared a tradition of friendship and rich and diversified exchanges, dating back to 1976, when the Québec and Catalan police forces (Sûreté du Québec/Mossos d’Esquadra) embarked on a public security program. These efforts were formalized in 1996 with the signing of a cooperation agreement, followed by the opening of Québec Government Office in Barcelona in 1999.

Québec Government Office in Barcelona
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