The Generalitat of Catalonia stems from the medieval institution which ruled, in the name of the King of the Crown of Aragon, some aspects of the administration of the Principality of Catalonia. The first Catalan constitution is that of the Corts of Barcelona from 1283.
|The Generalitat of Catalonia, outside|
|Old emblem of the Generalitat|
|Nueva Planta Drecree|
Then, by the early 18th century, as the Nueva Planta decrees were passed in Spain, the institution was abolished in the Spanish territory as well.
Bank note from the Generalitat de Catalunya, 1936
The Generalitat of Catalonia was restored in Spanish Catalonia and given its modern political and representative function as the regional government of Catalonia in 1932, during the Second Spanish Republic.
After the right wing coalition won the Spanish elections in 1934, the leftist leaders of the Generalitat of Catalonia rebelled against the Spanish authorities, and was temporarily suspended from 1934 to 1936.
|President Companys jailed by Spanish Gov|
|President Josep Tarradellas when he|
came back at the balcony of the
Generalitat de Catalonia
After this, the powers given to the autonomous Catalan government according to the Spanish Constitution of 1978 were transferred and the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia (Estatut d'Autonomia) was passed after being approved both by referendum in Catalonia and by the Spanish Cortes Generales.
Autonomous system of government
The Generalitat consists of the Executive Council, the President and the Parliament. Some people wrongly apply this name only to the Council as if it were the same as Cabinet only; however, Generalitat de Catalunya is the (autonomous) Catalan system as a whole.
The region has gradually achieved a greater degree of autonomy since 1979. After Navarre and the Basque Country regions, Catalonia has the greatest level of self-government in Spain. The Generalitat holds exclusive and wide jurisdiction in various matters of culture, environment, communications, transportation, commerce, public safety and local governments. In many aspects relating to education, health and justice, the region shares jurisdiction with the Spanish government.
One of the examples of Catalonia's degree of autonomy is its own police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, which is currently taking over most of the police functions in Catalonia.
With few exceptions, most of the justice system is administered by national judicial institutions. The legal system is uniform throughout the Spanish State, with the exception of so-called civil law. This is administered separately within Catalonia. As another institution stemming from the Generalitat, but independent from it in its check and balance functions, there is a Síndic de Greuges (ombudsman) to address problems that may arise between private citizens or organizations and the Generalitat or local governments.
As an autonomous community of Spain, Catalonia is not recognized as a sovereign state by any sovereign state. However, as Catalonia has progressively gained a greater degree of self-government in recent years, the Catalan Government has established nearly bilateral relationships with foreign bodies. For the most part, these relationships are with the governments of other powerful subnational entities such as Quebec or California. In addition, like most Spanish autonomous communities, Catalonia has permanent delegations before international organizations, such as the European Union.
Altogether, Catalonia has well over 40 representative offices worldwide. Most of these offices are located in major world cities like London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo and others. Each office has specific duties assigned by their ministry or department agency. Generally, the functions of these are the representation of specific interests of the Government of Catalonia, trade and foreign investment, Catalan culture and language support, tourist promotion and international cooperation activities.
There are no specific Catalan political institutions in Northern Catalonia, the French département of Pyrénées-Orientales. However, since September 5, 2003, there has been a House of the Generalitat in Perpignan, which aims to promote the Catalan culture and facilitate exchanges between each side of the Franco–Spanish border.
Help Catalonia is an association that receives no subsidies whatsoever from the Spanish state, the Catalan government or indeed any other organisation. We, the people who work in this project, do so on a voluntary basis and for no financial gain whatsoever.
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