PERE Aragones is a Catalan lawyer, academic and politician who is currently the vice president of Catalonia and its economy and finance minister.

The 34-year-old is also the leader of d’Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) – the Republican Left of Catalonia and he is currently in Glasgow, raising awareness of the Catalan crisis at the SNP conference.

READ MORE: Aragones: Europe should 'break silence' on Catalan political prisoners

When we met, he had already had discussions with SNP leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and said the two administrations intended to consider how they can cooperate in economic, cultural and social policies.

With his political allies either in prison or exile, Aragones knows that he is on a Spanish government watch list, something he handles with “calmness and serenity”.

“When in April I took charge of ERC because Marta Rovira, our secretary general, took the route to exile because of the persecution of the Spanish government, I started to appear in the reports of about the preparation of the referendum and the activities of the Catalan government at the same time, so I think it’s not a coincidence.

“I’m not looking over my shoulder all the time. No I think I have to manage this with calmness and serenity.

“Imagine yourself if you go to the prison to visit your leader – Oriol Junqueras – and you go with Marta Rovira, the general secretary of your party, and the leader Oriol Junqueras says to you from the other side of the glass ‘if she has any problems you have to take control of the party’, so you have no excuses to say no.

“You have to take this position, it’s an obligation for solidarity with my colleagues.”

While the response to their cause from the SNP has been good – “always we received a lot of solidarity from the SNP and the Scottish Government” – there has been a measure of support from other political parties.

“The Catalan delegation in the UK, based in London, are working with all the parties and have contacts with the Conservative and Labour parties, also Plaid Cymru and our main contact is in Westminster with the APPG [All Party Parliamentary Group] on Catalonia – this is our main contact between the Catalan Government and the UK political parties.”

What we see happening now is almost an exact re-run of October. Will these events be repeated?

Aragones responded: “What happened last year is we organised a referendum which was rejected by the Spanish government and they sent the police to beat us and attack us in the polling stations. What we expect now is to reach a negotiation about self-determination with the new Spanish government.

“This is very difficult because the history of Spain, the political position of the Socialist Party, but we have to insist it is only negotiation and political debate that will solve political problems.”

On the political prisoners – Europe has refused to intervene; is it likely to do anything before it’s too late?

He continued: “We have seen European governments have remained silent about the situation of repression in Catalonia but [individual] jurisdictions have not. You only have to see in Germany, for example, Scotland, or Belgium the cases about the exiles that the Spanish government wanted to extradite back to Spain. We hope that in future Europe will have a different position and will break their silence. I think it’s difficult but it’s not impossible.”

Aragones welcomed news that rebellion charges against 40 accused, including former Catalan government officials, had been dropped: “Like we’ve always said, the accusations of rebellion and sedition were ill-founded, as voting is not a crime.

“The Spanish state has constructed a fake discourse in order to try to stop the rise of the pro-independence movement, and with this our colleagues have been in jail awaiting for trial for almost a year now.”