The president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, has disassociated this Wednesday the dialogue table with the central government from the debate on the General State Budgets (PGE), although he has indicated that “everything helps”.
He has said it when asked at a press conference in the Generalitat after meeting with the president of the central Government, Pedro Sánchez, and after opening the table: “Everything helps, obviously. If the PGE help, this can advance. If this advances, the PGE too”.
“But the matters are different, and the dynamics itself”, highlighted Aragonès, who recalled that the PGE depend on a negotiation in Congress, and not on the one that will remain on the table between the two executives.
For his part, Sánchez explained that at the meeting he found that their political positions to resolve the so-called Catalan conflict are very far apart and are “radically different” for which both have committed to dialogue “without deadlines.”
This has been revealed in the press conference that he has offered after his meeting of almost two hours this Wednesday; a meeting that has served to restart the dialogue table between the central and Catalan governments, and that has followed a meeting between the teams designated by both executives to undertake this negotiation.
In this way, the day of this Wednesday has left a single agreement between the two governments – that of the Generalitat, represented only by ERC, after the exclusion of Junts -: that of continuing to negotiate “without haste, without pause and without deadlines” , as pointed out by Sánchez, and later confirmed by Aragonès, in his corresponding press conference.
Sánchez: “It was worth it”
Of course, Sánchez has made it clear that the main obstacle continues to be the independence demand for self-determination and amnesty that Aragonés has raised again and that the president has reaffirmed that he will never accept. But even so, the chief executive has defended that “it has been worthwhile” to restart this instrument, to find solutions.
“I believe that the images are important from the political point of view, that meetings are held between two government delegations to try to resolve crises that caused a tear, it seems to me good that it has an enormous power of political message,” he assured.
Both are aware, as they have explained, that there are many “complexities” and that the problems that concern them “did not start yesterday” nor will they be solved “tomorrow” and, therefore, they have agreed “to move forward without setting a date. the resolution of the conflict “, in the words of the Prime Minister.
“The positions are very far away, but we have also agreed that the table is the best way to find agreed solutions,” said Sánchez, who stressed that this will be possible thanks to the fact that the climate is now better than it was a year ago, and also at the disposition and willingness of both governments to dialogue.
In this regard, when asked about the dispute that affects the members of the Generalitat after Aragonés excluded Junts from the table, due to their determination to seat people outside the Government, Sánchez has avoided commenting on these tensions.
“From the Government of Spain we are deeply respectful of what emanates from the decisions that the Government has taken. We have nothing to add there, we are going to get to work, I believe that Catalonia and Spain deserve a better future,” he stated Sanchez.
Of course, at the same time he has reaffirmed that “the commitment of both delegations is total resounding.” “We began this stage with hope and renewed energy,” he emphasized.
Meetings “regular and discreet”
Regarding the methodology of the table, the two leaders have agreed that it is the best instrument in their opinion to “seek solutions”, but they have not finished closing the details of how it will work. This will be a question addressed by the delegations of ministers and councilors, although Aragonés has already advanced that they will be “periodic and discreet meetings.
The delegations held their first meeting on Wednesday in this “restart” of the dialogue table, after the meeting alone between the presidents , and which comes one year and seven months after the first attempt to activate this negotiation instrument, in February 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic broke out and Catalonia entered a period of interim status, due to the departure of former president Quim Torra and the holding of elections.
With practically all its members renewed, the Government delegation is made up of the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, in charge of coordinating the work; the second vice president and leader of United We Can in the central Executive, Yolanda Díaz; the spokesperson and Minister of Territorial Policy, Isabel Rodríguez, and the Minister of Culture, Miquel Iceta.
As for the Generalitat team, it is made up of the councilors Laura Vilagrà and Roger Torrent, after the Catalan president left Junts off the table by rejecting his proposal of names, among which were people outside the Government, Among them, two of those convicted of the procés, later pardoned by the Government.
Apart from the tensions that have surrounded the event, Sánchez and Aragonés have transferred their firm commitment to this instrument, although they have not closed any agreement beyond this, and both have once again put on the table proposals that are either insufficient or unacceptable for the other party.
In this way, Aragonès has once again demanded self-determination and amnesty, and Sánchez has flatly refused to negotiate on this issue. Moreover, he has assured that “this is not a proposal in the eyes of the Government.” “The Government of Spain will always respect democracy and constitutional order,” he stressed.
Instead, he has once again transferred the so-called ‘Reunion Agenda’ that he already raised in February 2020, which includes, according to the President of the Government, a response to “the historical demands” that have been raised by all the Governs from Artur Mas, in all areas.
“The Agenda for Reencounter aims to lay the foundations for a unity project, a project to regain affection and share a common future that can only be based on dialogue and mutual trust,” says the Executive in the document that has led to the dialogue table this Wednesday.
Back with El Prat
The Government’s agenda continues to include, among other issues, the intention of the Executive to expand and improve the El Prat airport, although in his appearance Sánchez has reaffirmed that at the moment the project is not “mature” and must be “parked”, due to lack of institutional consensus in the Generalitat, after ERC’s rejection of the project, due to the environmental impact that it entails in a protected area.
“We have found that right now, in the opinion of the Government, with all due respect, there is no mature position of the Government to address an investment that for the Government is strategic. There is no news, the project is not mature and therefore the Government parks that extension “, has settled.
Taking into account all their discrepancies, Sánchez has also called for “starting to speak for those things in which they have closer positions.” “It is the key to be able to continue advancing and I insist, we start from radically different positions, and we are going to need a lot of time,” he stressed. “That is why I think it is important to emphasize that you have to work without haste, without pause and without deadlines,” he elaborated.