Practice Experience

JOAQUIM LLIMONA BALCELLS has been a member of the Barcelona Bar Association since 1984. He holds a degree in Law from the University of Barcelona with first-class honors. He holds a Diploma of Higher European Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges, and an IESE PDG (General Management Program). He was a fellow of the Menéndez y Pelayo International University (1982-1983). He has been a guest visitor to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the US Department of State and the British Council.

Joaquim Llimona’s career has developed both in the public sector and in the private sector. Until January 2004, he worked in the Government of Catalonia as Secretary of Foreign Affairs (2000-2004), General Director of External Relations (1996-2000), Director of the Office of Foreign Affairs (1990-1996). Between 1985 and 1990 he worked for the Patronat Català pro Europa, a consortium that advised the public and private sector on the effects of Spain’s accession to the European Communities

In the Catalan government, he was responsible for international relations and for cooperation on development policy, and coordinated the international policy of the Catalan administration. Under his responsibility, the Catalan Cooperation Agency was created and the Catalan Cooperation Law was passed. In the framework of these functions, he held positions in numerous European and international organizations.

Between 2011 and 2015 he was in charge of Barcelona’s international outreach effort, first as Director of Foreign Relations and Cooperation and later as Commissioner. In this position he reinforced the Barcelona brand; attracted international organizations to Barcelona, led the creation of a diplomatic hub in Sant Pau and signed economic cooperation agreements with other cities. He also worked at the European level to obtain more resources from the European Union for various cities including the effort to designate Barcelona as an EU “smart city benchmark” and to involve the business and economic world in development cooperation.

Since 2004, and again from 2015, he has developed a career in the private sector as a consultant and lawyer specializing in international work, and EU processes, policies, programs and projects.

Throughout his career, he has designed strategies and managed projects for the public sector, always related to international and EU matters. His clients in the public sector include the government of Andorra, for which he is an adviser in its EU negotiations, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Regional Council of Midy Pyrenées, the Governments of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, Barcelona City Council, General Council of Aran, Diputación of Barcelona, and multiple municipalities and corporations.

In the private sector he has advised companies on European issues and international processes. He has worked for more than thirty clients, from both Spain and foreign countries. La Caixa stands out in his career, as he was a consultant on the international strategy of the company between 2004 and 2010, collaborating in the design and implementation of its network of international office. Among other clients are TUI Turismo, CITELUM (VEOLIA group, today EDF), Gas Natural, COMSA, CONDEMSIA QUÍMICA, METALSA (Mexican company leader in automobile components), the Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona, and SENER INGENIERÍA.

He has worked for these clients on the development of strategic studies and has presented, won and managed numerous EU-funded projects. He also provides legal assistance in matters of international and European law, and he designs and implements projects in third countries.

Joaquim has been part of international teams in major human rights cases. Among others, he has defended the interests of the well-known Russian, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and the Venezuelan Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni in Spain and in the European Union.

Joaquim specializes in European law, project management before the European Union and other regional and international organizations; design and implementation of the international strategies of companies, and consulting on the international strategies of public sector entities.

Joaquim also holds the following positions: President of the Foundation of PIMEC (Small and Medium Enterprise Association of Catalonia); President of the France – Catalonia Friendship Association; “Diàleg” and Patron of numerous foundations; President of the Catalan Council of the European Movement (2006-2010); Secretary General of the Spanish Committee of the European League for Economic Cooperation (2008-2016); Member of the Committee of Regions of the European Union (2000-2004); Comendador de la Real Orden de Isabel la Católica; and Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite de la République Française.

Joaquim is Professor of European Law at the University of Barcelona since 1996, and a Member of the Advisory Board of the Center for International Studies in Barcelona (a consortium between the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the University of Barcelona and CaixaBank). He is also the Former President of the International Institute for Governance of Catalonia (2002-2004) and of the Trans-Border Institute of the University of Perpignan during the same period.

He has lectured and participated in debates, congresses, seminars and workshops in more than 200 Universities and in public and private institutions in Catalonia, Spain, Europe, Asia and Latin America.


LL.B., University of Barcelona, 1984


Catalan, Spanish, French and English

He can be reached at