Alex Salmond's speech to the National Assembly of the Partit Democrata Europeu Catala (PDeCat) in Barcelona

FRIENDS, I bring you greetings from Scotland where we like you celebrate the suspension of the arrest warrant against Clara Ponsati your former Minister of Education.

We like to think that the Scottish judicial system would have given short shrift to the abuse of European Arrest Warrants for addressing political disputes.

I had the pleasure of meeting Clara for the first time when I was interviewing President Puigdemont in Brussels for a television programme. She struck me as a thoughtful person not really like a politician - not that I am suggesting the politicians gathered here are not thoughtful people!

But Clara is more of an academic than politician- she teaches at my old University of St Andrews. But no one should underestimate the steel with which she has resisted the attempts to judicially prosecute her.

Clara has demonstrated courage, resilience and grace and is known in Scotland as “oor Clara”, our Clara, la nostra Clara. I look forward to the day when Clara and all other exiles are free to return to Catalunya to help forge the future.

Just as I look forward to the day when all your imprisoned politicians are free to return to the public life of Catalunya. At various times over the years people have asked why as a life long campaigner for Scottish Independence I do not campaign for the Independence of Catalunya. The answer is quite simple and lies in the essence of self determination - The Principal of self determination is that the peoples of nations determine for themselves their own path, free from outside intervention, positive or negative. The future of Catalunya should be determined by the peoples of this nation. You have the ownership over your cause.

However certain aspects of your struggle are universal not particular and I want to address three of them now.

First the Ballot box is supreme in a democratic, liberal society. It is not for state police to determine who shall vote and who shall not. That is for the people. It is to the eternal shame of the leadership of Europe that in the main they found themselves unable to take a stand against state violence. And your patience and courage in sustaining a peaceful path has drawn admiration from people across this continent and throughout this world.

Second the right of self determination is universal not particular. As Charles Stuart Parnell once said to Ireland. No-one has the right to set a boundary on the march of an nation no one should say to Cataluyna you shall go this far but no further. Of course you have to build that opportunity through state craft and and perseverance. It took us many years in Scotland to craft that agreement, the Edinburgh Agreement on our referendum and despite the fact that Westminster is weakened by turning its back on the entire European Continent through Brexit it will take us skill to win another opportunity.

Finally and this is important above all - your struggle , our struggle has to provide solutions in the modern world. We have political systems throughout the Western world in the grip of right wing populism. Brexit in Britain is a manifestation of that so is Trump in America. The alienation of the people from political elites is an economic reaction certainly but it is more than that. It is an earnest cry, a prayer from people looking for purpose, for fairness and for identity from political systems. Your party, other parties and the movement as a whole can provide that for Cataluyna - progressive, just and above all inclusive of all. We can only justify the process of building new nation states if they provide a home for those who are alienated, forgotten, those who are lost and one fundamentally better that the states they succeed.

I wish you well in your efforts to build that home.

El vostre somni de llibertat, com el meu, mai morirà.