In an attempt to recover the support of ERC for the remainder of the legislature, as it is an essential partner in Congress with its 13 deputies, the Government has accepted the demand of the Generalitat to offer “guarantees” of impunity for the independence movement, which that both Executives define as “avoiding the judicialization of politics in Catalonia”, in addition to working on an agreement that should be the framework to address this dialogue. The Government thus presses the box button to start its negotiation to explore the dialogue table, despite the skepticism and distance from the Republicans.
In the meeting of just over two hours held this Wednesday in La Moncloa by the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, and his counterpart in the Government, Laura Vilagrà, the central Executive has promised to carry out the interview between Pedro Sánchez and Pere Argones that the Catalan has been demanding for two months, after the outbreak of the Pegasus crisis. Because of the wiretapping by court order that the CNI carried out on a dozen independence leaders.
An appointment between the two presidents that has no date due to Sánchez’s national and international agenda, but that La Moncloa wants to carry out as a gesture. But it will be the only photo. There will not be, at least for now, a new installment of the dialogue table.
Some concessions that Bolaños has celebrated at a press conference as the “beginning of a new time for dialogue and agreement”, but that are insufficient for Catalan nationalism according to the statements that Vilagrà has made before the media, not in Moncloa , where the interview took place, but at the headquarters of the Generalitat in Madrid.
The emissary of President Aragonès has stressed that institutional relations remain “frozen”, and will continue to do so, as long as the central government does not offer written measures that put an end to the “State repression against the Catalans”. One cannot speak, therefore, of a recovery of their alliance, although the atmosphere of the meeting has been less tense than the one that presided over their meeting in the Palau de la Generalitat, two months ago, due to the Pegasus case.
“There are no reasons to talk about thawing, we will have to wait for the next few weeks. At this time, the minimum conditions to recover the institutional relationship, trust and the dialogue table do not exist, there is the Pegasus case, the Government’s breaches continue on closed commitments, pardons are being studied in the Supreme Court and there are two councilors from the Generalitat who must face trials that could end with their disqualification”, stated the ERC leader, who throughout their meeting with Bolaños he has shown a serious and unfriendly rictus.
Among other reasons, because the Republicans continue to receive pressure from their partners in JXCat and the CUP to immediately break their relationship with the government. “This meeting only serves to whitewash Sánchez”, lamented the general secretary of Junts, Jordi Turull.
Faced with these independence demands to return to the insurrectional path, Vilagrà has defended that the Government try to find a “political solution” to the conflict, but has lamented the low execution of the State’s investment in Catalonia and has asked that the Government use as a base to apply the reforms required by the independence movement, the report of the Council of Europe prepared by the Latvian Boris Celevic, in which, among other measures, he asks to end the Euroorders, modify the Court of Auditors and the penal code.
The negotiating table has already met twice, once in Madrid and once in Barcelona. And, in fact, in its first edition, in February 2020, what constituted its foundations were laid, collected in a joint statement: the table would meet once a month; every six months the full table would meet to take stock of the meetings; the agreements that came out of it would be formulated “within the framework of legal certainty”…
And in the second installment, in September 2021, it was established that it would be the dialogue table itself, the work teams of both governments, who would set the methodology and the calendar for it. In fact, in these months, the Executive has maintained that work was continuing between the teams.
But that founding act and those bases, consider the Government and the Generalitat to be of no use. At least that is what emerges from the meeting between Bolaños and Vilagrà. “We have shared the need for a framework agreement to advance the dialogue at the table. The content is just as important as the working methodology at the table”, explained the Minister of the Presidency after the appointment and the photograph. In conclusion, Bolaños underlined “full respect for all proposals”, since “in a democracy all ideas are possible and respectable”.
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