The president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, vowed to press onward with his government’s diplomatic efforts, stating that Raül Romeva will continue to serve as Catalonia’s minister for foreign affairs. Puigdemont’s statement comes after the Spanish constitutional court’s suspension of the Catalan foreign ministry following the court’s agreement to take up the challenge brought by the Spanish government.

Puigdemont insisted that engaging in diplomatic activity falls within the scope of the Catalan government’s powers. “We are not about to stop,” he warned. Extending an ironic thanks to the court, Puigdemont made reference to a joke taunting Real Madrid made by FC Barcelona player Gerard Piqué: ‘Thank you, constitutional court, everything began with you.’

The precautionary suspension of the Catalan ministry of foreign affairs will remain in effect for five months. The court will have to rule on the existence of the department within this time frame.

On 5 February, the Spanish government challenged before the constitutional court the Catalan government’s decree establishing its ministry of foreign affairs. The vice president of Spain, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaria, and the justice minister, Rafael Català, warned that there was an institutional conflict and overlap, and said that the Catalan government was overstepping its bounds by meddling in international affairs.

The underlying motive for this stance is the Spanish government’s opposition to the separatist roadmap that the Catalan government is implementing with the support of the Catalan parliament. When the department was created, Romeva himself declared it the first element of the future Catalan republic’s state structures.

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