Catalan leader hopes for ‘support’ from Scotland

EDINBURGH: After years of holding Catalan separatists at arm’s length despite obvious sympathy for their cause, Scotland’s pro-independence First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was to meet Catalan president Quim Torra for the first time on Wednesday.
Torra is visiting Scotland and also met Clara Ponsati, a former Catalan minister who is fighting an extradition request by Spain on charges of “violent rebellion” for her role in Catalonia’s failed independence bid in 2017.
“Maybe we can discuss how they can give us support, ideas to resolve the critical political situation,” Torra told reporters ahead of his meeting with Sturgeon.
“I would like to thank the Scottish people for their solidarity, their generosity, with Clara,” he said.
Ponsati, a 61-year-old professor in political economy at the University of St Andrews, has been released on bail as she challenges the extradition through the Spanish courts.
Torra said the Ponsati case was “strengthening the links between Scotland and Catalonia, two nations with the same goal, the independence of their countries”.
Michael Keating, professor of political science at the University of Aberdeen, said the meeting between Torra and Sturgeon is possible thanks to “a degree of normality” returning to Catalonia after last year’s events.
There is a long-running affinity between Scottish and Catalan separatists.
When Scotland held its independence referendum in 2014 in which the unionist cause won by 55 per cent to 45 per cent, hundreds of Catalans came to aid the independence campaign. — AFP