Cēsis, Latvia | Latvian experts talk about how the independence of Catalonia is seen from Latvia
At the LAMPA political festival
The Catalan independence process continues to raise interest around Europe as seen by the fact that during the weekend experts from Latvia explained the political situation in Catalonia and discussed the effects the independence of Catalonia could have on Latvia and the European Union. The debate took place within the framework of the LAMPA political festival which has been held in Cēsis every year since 2015.
Albert Royo, Secretary General of DIPLOCAT, recognizes the great value of the political festivals held in the Scandinavian and Baltic countries. And acknowledge that DIPLOCAT participates in these events because “the political debate taking place in Catalonia and Spain is of interest to the whole continent”. In this regard, he considers that "it can strengthen the democratic values on which the European Union is founded”.
The debate at Cēsis has been moderated by the journalist Paula Muzikante, and participants included the journalist and writer, Otto Ozols, and the journalist specialized in foreign affairs, Kārlis Streips. Ozols knows Catalonia and the current political situation very well. In 2016 he walked 400 km in Catalonia following the route of the Catalan Way human chain held in 2013.
In his speech, Streips expressed his proximity to the Catalan case: “as a Latvian, I understand every nation desire for self-determination”. Although he made it clear that "the comparison between Latvia and Catalonia is imperfect because Spain cannot be compared to the Soviet Union”. On the future status of an independent Catalonia, Streips stated that “no matter what, it is not going be easy because post-war architecture in Europe was set in great detail”. Therefore, “if Catalonia was to dissolve its relation with Spain, it would dissolve its relation with the EU, at least temporarily”, he added.
On the other hand, Ozols made a parallelism with Russia stating that "Spain is playing the same tactic as Putin's Russia. The Constitutional Court is clearly politicized and mass media manipulates the facts and tells lies. Reducing the number of participants in the September 11 mass demonstrations, for instance". According to the Latvian publicist, these facts “and the cooperation between Russia and Spain on issues like Ceuta or energy, places Spain closer to the Kremlin than the rest of European democratic countries”.
Regarding the Spanish military cooperation in the region, Streips replied that "from the Latvia’s perspective... the army that is supporting us with its presence is the Spanish one, not the Catalan one."
As to the evaluation of the debate, Ozols expressed his surprise that “we kept the public interest until the last minute. There were much more people than expected”. In addition, he emphasized that “by hearing to the audience questions and opinions, I would say that 80% of the public were supporting Catalonia’s demands”.
The LAMPA festival is inspired by similar events which have been held for many years in Nordic and Baltic countries such as Denmark, Sweden, and Estonia – some of which attract 100,000 visitors.
Last updated: 3 July 2017