Former Minister Meritxell Serret returns to Catalonia after more than three years in Brussels exile

Meritxell Serret, who until this week was the Catalan Government Delegate to the European Union, has decided to return to Catalonia to continue the political struggle against repression, and has now been in Spanish territory for several hours. The member of parliament elect intends to take possession of the seat she won in the 14 February elections and to return politics again in the Parliament of Catalonia. Ms Serret’s decision, having been in exile in Brussels since 2017 after forming part of the Catalan government that made the referendum on independence possible, responds to her wish to maintain the struggle against repression of independence and in favour of self-determination, exercising politics from Catalonia and in an effort to pave the way for the rest of the political exiles.

Ms Serret knows that her return involves risks, but said “I have thought through the decision, I think it is the right one and the logical step in my struggle to help end the repression of independentism by Spain.” She has now appeared before the Supreme Court in Madrid, where she will exercise her right not to testify, and she is expected to return to Catalonia in the next few hours.

Formally accused of embezzlement and disobedience, Ms Serret is in a singular judicial situation, appearing without there being an active European Arrest Warrant for her. “I am convinced that by taking these risks we are paving the way for all our colleagues who are in my situation,” she said. Minister Serret’s decision, although personal, will have collective political implications and will help clarify, facilitate and reverse the judicial process against the hundreds affected by Spain’s general cause against independentism.

Since her exile in 2017, Ms Serret has remained politically active, highly focused on the international denunciation of the repression of Catalan pro-independence activists and the call for a political and democratic solution to the conflict, through the right to self-determination. Since 2018 she has been the Government Delegate to the European Union. Her wish to continue exercising in politics led her to join the Esquerra Republicana ticket, replacing Minister Bernat Solé at the last minute when he was disqualified by a Spanish court for his participation in the independence referendum.

Ms Serret has made clear her conviction to exercise her position as a member of the Catalan Parliament. “I will continue to work for the Catalan Republic, now from Parliament, and to defend rights and democracy before the courts, not only my own political rights and those of pro-independence activists but also those of all Catalans, who are permanently threatened by Spain’s state phobia for democracy.”