Romeva on Mario Soares: “He understood the singularity of Catalonia’s democratic demands”
Lisbon (CNA).- Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, attended this Tuesday the funeral of former Portuguese President, Mario Soares. Romeva assured that Soares “is and will always be an example for democracy, Europeanism and social democracy” and emphasised his ability for “building bridges” between different ideologies. “He always understood the singularity of Catalonia’s democratic demands”, he added. The ceremony, which took place at the cloister of Lisbon’s ‘Monasterio de los Jerónimos’, saw the presence of many international leaders, including Spain’s King Philip VI and former Spanish President, Socialist Felipe González.
“Soares has always played a key role in the relations between Catalonia and Portugal”, said Romeva. “He always understood the singularity of Catalonia’s democratic demands and he spoke in public and openly expressed in favour of those rights which Catalonia was also trying to achieve” he added and insisted on the need to “recognise and appreciate” the Socialist leader’s “ability and willingness to stand for rights and freedom for so many years.” “He not only fought against [Salazar’s] dictatorship but also built bridges between different ideologies and was always willing to build and empathise on the basis of the democratic principles”, stated Romeva.
Soares died on Saturday aged 92. He was exiled for 12 years during Portugal’s four-decade dictatorship and was elected the country’s first post-coup President in 1976. He grew into a global statesman through his work with the Socialist International movement and helped guide his country from dictatorship to parliamentary democracy and a place in the European Union.