James von Puchow returns from trip to Andorra and Catalonia
Sir James von Puchow – Deputy Chief Ambassador – has returned from a two-week long trip to the Principality of Andorra and to the nearby Spanish city of Girona in Catalonia. Earlier this evening, he delivered this report to the Emperor and other members of the government:
It is my intention to report to His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor, his Government and the People of this Empire and associated lands on my experience in the Principality of Andorra and the city of Girona which is politically within the Kingdom of Spain, but at the forefront of the cause for independence of Catalonia – itself, culturally and linguistically, a separate nation. It should be at the pleasure of His Imperial Majesty that I have enjoyed two weeks this month in these territories in order to improve my knowledge of the Catalan language which is spoken there and to gain a deeper understanding of the government and current social attitudes.
Stress, first and foremost, should be placed on the reality of how different the Catalan Countries, or ‘els Països Catalans’ are from the culture of mainstream Spain. Both Andorra and Catalonia have existed before the establishment of the current Spanish state, sharing a unique Romance language spoken from coast to mountain.
My time in Andorra has illustrated the efficacy of the transition the state had taken since establishing itself as a constitutional co-principality in the early 1990s. Through guided visits to the ancient parliament, La Casa de la Vall (The House of the Valley) and the newly constructed building which belongs to Andorra’s unicameral parliament, the ‘Consell General’, it became evident that the focus on government established from the local level and the present system of universal suffrage made this small nation as modern as most European states. Furthermore, the investment of public funds into a wide infrastructure of facilities to provide Andorran citizens and residents with opportunities to divulge into cultural activities and sport, without doubt, highlight this state’s focus on the wellbeing of its people as a means to maintain activity within the country. Naturally, the unemployment rate is extremely low and the rates of salary beat many of those in other nearby countries. The natural beauty of this territory and its upkeep also make this country unique; I can assure His Imperial Majesty that the size of this country does not pose limits on its ability to be like modern European nations. Of course, as a landlocked country, it still purchases electricity and gas from nearby countries, but Andorra is not unique in this aspect. I highly recommend that the Emperor visit this country in the future to expose himself to the detail of structure of this nation.
I ask His Imperial Majesty to divert also his attention to the activity within Catalonia, currently an autonomous region of the Kingdom of Spain, but historically a nation and proud centre of historical activity with in western Europe. Varied conversations and discourse with the workers and residents of Girona have only cemented my own personal view that this territory should be granted the legal means to conduct a referendum on independence, as the central government of the Kingdom of Spain, lead by the conservative one-state ‘Popular Party’, wishes not only to refuse Catalans this right, but also to enforce policies which would reverse popular laws on autonomy and the territory’s ability to run its own services and agencies without the political interference of the rest of Spain. As much as I expect His Imperial Majesty’s Government to officially remain impartial on this issue, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all to research the current political situation in this part of the Iberian Peninsula in order that they may understand the history and potential of Catalonia. I am proud that I have been able to converse with the people who live there and I stand by the fact that in my own personal capacity, having attended lectures at the University of Girona and witnessed spectacles of this vibrant culture, I am an ambassador for these people, their language and their way of life.
Thus, I invite all who read this, and His Imperial Majesty most of all, to meet with me to discuss further my time in these territories, to look at the photos I have taken from my visit and to investigate these two different parts of the world.
With best wishes for our Empire and her People, and greetings to the Monarch,
James von Puchow
Sycamore Booker, Community of Landashir
30th July 2014