SILVIA ANGULO, IÑAKI PARDO TORREGROSA
The former president Artur Mas, in the gardens of the Palau Robert after the interview with ‘La Vanguardia’ // Xavier Cervera / Own
The former president of the Generalitat reviews the current scenario, following the investiture of Pedro Sánchez and the new stage of negotiation; he points out that “the big issue” is the fiscal pact
Artur Mas (Barcelona, 1956) talks to ‘La Vanguardia’ while Pedro Sánchez and Pere Aragonès meet at the Palau de la Generalitat. He assesses the political scenario after Sánchez’s investiture and the negotiations between sovereignty parties and the PSOE. The former president warns of the weakness of the pro-independence movement and points out that “the big issue” to be negotiated is the fiscal pact.
What is your assessment of the political panorama?
It is a great opportunity, although there is a huge mess and negative feelings. A great opportunity has opened up in Spanish politics, one of those that happens very rarely or almost never, and it must be seized from a Catalan and Catalanist point of view.
We have to do what is already being done [negotiate]. Junts could have done something else. If Carles Puigdemont said he only wanted to talk about the referendum, he would have been coherent with what he has said in recent years. Despite this, Pedro Sánchez has been invested. If the pro-independence movement were ready to take the final step, I would not have recommended that he be invested. But, with the current disarray of the pro-independence project, we cannot punish the country for the next few years by hiding the incapacities of the pro-independence project and making it appear to be something it is not by gesticulating excessively for the benefit of the gallery. We are doing what we have to do. The pro-independence project today does not have the conditions to succeed. That does not mean that it will not have them again.
Anyone who says that independence will be resolved in the next four years is either not seeing the game or is deluding themselves.
You had a large majority in Parliament, especially if you look at it through today’s prism, but in Madrid you had no strength because of the PP’s absolute majority.
I will always prefer a large majority in Parliament in exchange for greater weakness in Madrid. In my mental and political scheme of things, I prioritise Catalonia and its institutions. If it turns out that there are very small majorities here – President Pere Aragonès governs with 33 MPs, which is incredible but true – it is better that this enormous weakness be accompanied by a great capacity for influence in Madrid, because unfortunately many important decisions that affect Catalonia are still taken there.
Sánchez and Aragonés have met.
It is part of institutional normality. I reiterate what I said, anyone who says that independence will be resolved in the next four years is either not seeing the game or is deluding themselves. We now have a golden opportunity in Spanish politics and if that requires meeting with Sánchez as many times as necessary, it has to be done. And absolutely nothing happens. We have to make the most of the situation.
Do you have the feeling that we have returned to the beginning of the ‘procés’?
I think we are in the post-‘proces’.
So, do you consider the ‘procés’ as we have known it to be over?
Yes, and I think it is better that it is so, because from these ten long years of the political process of sovereignty, since we have not achieved the objectives we set out to achieve, we have to learn the lessons. As we have known it, the ‘proces’ is over. That does not mean that the sovereignty aspiration is over or that the goal of independence is no longer on the horizon.