The former Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs José Manuel García Margallo continues to make revelations over foreign policy that Mariano Rajoy’s government would surely not want him to. This week, in a joint act with the former vice president Joana Ortega in Barcelona, he explained that when he was Minister, he suggested confiscating and destroying the 9-N ballot boxes and taking control of the Mossos d’Esquadra police force for one day. But he also opened up more about the favours Spain owes to other countries in exchange for not coming down on the side of Catalan independence.
Margallo referred specifically to the Baltic countries. A couple of months ago, in a conversation on 13TV, the former minister already had said that he had been to Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania four times, countries that traditionally showed a positive sensitivity towards Catalonia’s sovereigntist aspirations. Then Margallo said, ‘No one knows how many favours we owe to a lot of people for making the declarations they made.’
Now he has been asked to specify what favours he referred to and Margallo related Spain’s interest against Catalan independence with the Spanish military presence in the Baltic Sea, implying that there is a factor of pressure, or of exchange of favours between both sides. See it in this video, at 1h 15′.
We transcribe it below:
“In diplomacy, as in any aspect of life, there are no permanent friends, but there are permanent interests. And obviously for me, the superior good to be preserved is probably the maintenance of Spanish unity.
In any conversation with other states, with other countries, or with other ministries, they put their concerns and their interests on the table, and we put ours.
One very clear example: I’m coming from a debate in Alicante in which I have received recriminations over Spain’s position on the sanctions on Russia for the invasion of Crimea and the breach of the Minsk agreements. We are not concerned about Russia like the Baltic countries are, like the Romanians, the Polish or the Hungarians, so they therefore demand enormous firmness with respect to Russia. We do not have this concern, but we understand it, we share it and, as partners, we support the actions and go even further: we have an air squadron in the Baltic Sea.
For the same reason, I say that my concern is the unity of Spain and I ask you to understand it. I have made all possible efforts to ensure that the chancelleries and all of the institutions, from the United Nations to the European Union, maintain what international law establishes: state of law, territorial unity and indivisible nature of the territory. And these are the favours. This is a game of ‘This one’s for you and the next one is for me’. There has been no material payment of any kind, amongst other things because with my budget, I couldn’t even send Coca-Colas.”
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