Monday, November 29

Catalonia gives 1.2 million in six years to an ‘independent’ university in France




Last Tuesday, three agents of the French Gendarmerie appeared at the headquarters of the Catalan University of Estiu (UCE) in Prada de Conflent (France) to ask if the former president Carles Puigdemont had planned to participate in any of the activities of this center, which for years has become a subsidized pole for disseminating independence and the idea of ​​the ‘Catalan Countries’. The organizers’ response was negative, although the gendarmes may not have been misled, since the former president did participate in the 2020 edition and the south of France – Catalonia Nord, according to the nationalist language – has become, together with Brussels, in its main political base.

In fact, attendance at UCE courses

It is almost an obligation for part of the Catalan ruling class, and yesterday, for example, the former president Torra, the president of the Parliament and a councilor participated. In fact, the event is mainly fed by grants from the organizations that direct or control some of its most illustrious speakers.

If a review is made of the recent accounting of the entity, it can be seen as only since 2015, and through the different departments, the Catalan government has injected 840,654 euros (134,075 for the 2021 edition, for example), while the four Catalan councils They have subsidized it with 400,280 euros (67,100 in 2021). In total, 1,240,934 in the last six years to which must be added another 77,020 euros from public funds in the form of scholarships.

Aid from Catalan institutions is not the only source of income. The Prada City Council and the French councils of Languedoc-Roussillon and the Pyrenees-Orientales have contributed 329,600 euros since 2015. The Barcelona’s town hall It has also been a sponsor of the UCE, and although with the arrival of Ada Colau the tap was momentarily cut off, after a year the Barcelona City Council financed the UCE again. In 2015 it granted 5,500 euros, in 2017 it was 5,000 and in 2018 it was increased to 10,000, this year being the last with a contribution from the city, as ABC has been able to verify. For its part, the Insular Council of Menorca has given 3,000 euros for the 2021 edition.

Despite its desire to create a space for intellectual reflection that encompasses all of Catalanism, the UCE has recently become a stronghold in which the more ‘Octobrist’ pro-independence movement licks its wounds, the one that denies dialogue with the State and vindicates the legitimacy of the 1-O referendum. This fact has removed the appointment from the more generic agenda of sovereignty and has diminished the importance it had in the past.

Born in the midst of the dictatorship, from its inception the UCE served so that the then clandestine Catalanism had a meeting space outside the borders of Franco’s Spain that helped it to articulate and prepare its leap to the electoral arena with the arrival of democracy . The ‘golden age’ of the UCE was with the last blows of the dictatorship. Between 1971 and 1975 attendees were fired that every summer they traveled to Prada to attend the conference and in some moments the success was such that double sessions were held. However, with the start of the Transition, the event lost its resistance to the resistance and its popularity declined, a political and economic decline.


After years of loss of relevance and attempts to re-float the initiative, the ‘procés’ gave the UCE a certain weight back. In 2017, a few weeks from 1-O, the event held an edition focused exclusively on independence that brought together Puigdemont and the ‘Jordis’, among others. After this critical stage, the space has now remained as a place where names linked to Junts and theses basically come. ‘puigdemontistas‘, favorable to confrontation with the State and unilateralism while the prominent names of ERC shun it. Oriol Junqueras has not attended in recent times and the president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès (ERC), is not expected to do so this year, thus distancing himself from his two predecessors, Quim Torra and Carles Puigdemont.

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