The ambassador acknowledges that Spain did speak with Ecuador after Julian Assange wrote a tweet supporting the independence of Catalonia. He stated that the country’s response was satisfactory.
Ecuador must “lobby” to convince the members of the European Union to accept the Schengen visa application. This was stated by the ambassador of Spain in Ecuador and acknowledged that the team must be formed by the Government, Andean parliamentarians and members of the Assembly.
Julian Assange spoke in favor of the independence of Catalonia.
Did your country claim Ecuador?
Those demonstrations were very unfortunate. We spoke at the time with the Foreign Ministry and their response was very satisfactory and helpful.
What did Spain propose?
Let’s leave that in diplomatic discretion, what I will say is that we spoke with the Foreign Ministry and his response was helpful.
Is the independence process losing support? I think it has had a great international discredit and within the Catalan society because they have tried to divide Catalan society. The data of the electoral results show that they have less and less support.
Who is behind the attempt at independence?
There are three parties: the Catalan European Democratic Party, which is a party that has had problems of internal corruption; Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, one on the left and the Popular Unity Candidacy. Lately they are divided and that has caused them to lose several votes in the Catalan Parliament. The independence movement is fragmented.
Can Spain negotiate with the 13 Catalan politicians prosecuted because of the 2017 referendum?
It is not possible to negotiate with a referendum because there are allegedly criminal acts occurred. These are not in the hands of the Government but of justice. The Spanish Constitution states that the referendum is only called by the Spanish Government. That does not prevent President Pedro Sánchez from promoting dialogue and reconciliation, something other than negotiating a referendum.
Would Catalonia survive as an independent State and outside the European Union?
It will not achieve independence because of the almost 200 States of the United Nations, not a single one supports it. In the case of an independent Catalonia, it would automatically be outside the European Union, but that will not happen. They would be exposed economically, politically and in security.
Did it affect the Spanish Government economically?
More than the Government, it affected the workers themselves and among them, the 480,000 Ecuadorians living in Spain. In Catalonia they are close to 120,000. It is a serious responsibility to endanger these jobs by a political project such as secession.
Those who promote independence say that in Spain there are political prisoners. It is true?
In Spain there are no political prisoners, because it is a democratic state, right wing and with all freedoms guaranteed. What there are political prisoners because they have committed crimes. In the case of the independentistas, they have been accused in four crimes and that is not a decision of the Government but of the judges of the Supreme Court.
They also denounce that there is repression by the State.
There is no repression of the State, what there is a rule of law that works.
On another issue, how are the relations between Spain and Ecuador going?
They are very good, positive, complete and excellent. We have had excellent political relations, with the trips of President Lenin Moreno to Madrid. We are working on more trips and visits. At the economic-commercial level, they are very good.
In 2016, bilateral relations amounted to $ 833 million and this year is already $ 1,345 million. This is mainly due to the multiparty agreement of the European Union, which came into force in January 2017.
Will the Schengen visa be eliminated?
Yes, it can be given. Spain, in January 2018, requested the visa exemption and that the procedure for Ecuador be initiated. There is also support from Hungary.
What procedure is it?
It is the procedure of Regulation 539 of 2001 of the European Union, which has two annexes: countries with visas and countries without visas. The point is to move to Ecuador to the list of countries without visas. We are talking about short-term visas, maximum 90 days, of a tourist nature.
With it you can get to know all of Spain and all of Europe. That will be achieved with the reform of the regulation, with a qualified majority. That is, all the countries of the European Union vote. That was done every year in October.
Do you follow the schedule?
No, it has been extending more and more. Instead of being done annually, it is done every year and a half or two. The migration crisis means that there is little appetite to raise visas.
What time will it take?
Our experience indicates that it will not be a matter of months, it will be more time. It will take at least two years and two things are very important: that Ecuador make the corresponding reports to convince those states that do not want to.
Although there has already been a delegation that made visits to the Commission of the European Union, in Brussels.
Is it a negotiating team that will have to convince the States?
The team must be formed by the Government, Andean parliamentarians and the Assembly. He already did it once, but it must be repeated. They should see which countries are not convinced and talk to them. Talk with the European Commission, which is the one that takes the procedure; and with European parliamentarians. It is convenient to make visits, leave documents on the table where it is indicated that Ecuador is well on issues of security, migration (…). Another point is reciprocity because the European Union, to lift the requirement of the visa, will ask for a series of commitments and these can be, for example, that people who travel respect the 90 days, cases of returns (…). It’s a matter of time and work. (I)