Iñaki Pardo Torregrosa, 3 July 2023
Roger Montañola, candidate for PDECat-Espai CiU in the general elections on 23 July – Ana Jiménez / Own
The candidate of Espai CiU-PDECat in the general elections of 23 July, Roger Montañola, defends the opening of a new era in Catalonia and that the political forces assume that the ‘procés’ is over.
“I disagree with Artur Mas, we will not let anyone from another generation take over”.
Roger Montañola (Barcelona, 1986) heads the PDECat-Espai CiU candidacy in the general elections. He places Catalonia in the post-procés and advocates doing politics for adults, explaining things as they are. His candidacy will have 100% of the rights of Junts per Catalunya, but this time he does not have the backing of former president Artur Mas.
What is Espai CiU?
A political space that brings together people with different sensibilities under the premise that a common front is necessary for the defence of Catalonia, and who understand that we are in a post-procés stage. We all assume that we must open a new era, based on the assumption that the ‘Procés’ is over and that new recipes and new ways of tackling politics from a Catalanist point of view are necessary.
What new recipes?
Put our feet on the ground and return to reality. For too many years now, Catalonia has been wandering in a mixture of epic, frustration, disillusionment and, above all, a life far removed from pragmatism. And life, and politics too, call for realism and pragmatism. On the basis that citizens must be spoken to as adults and that politics must explain things as they are and not as we would like them to be. We need to move on from this deeply emotional stage, with grand proclamations that have been shown not to have worked and that have failed, and consequently we need to open up a new era in which people are told that the defence of Catalonia’s interests involves politics and not showmanship.
Our great idea is to literally go back to politics, to sit down with everyone and negotiate for Catalonia’s interests.
What does it mean to put on a show?
Putting on a show is to think that your political function is to get likes on Twitter and to ignore your job as a political representative, which is to negotiate, compromise and talk to those who are different in order to try to contribute to Catalonia’s interests. They have sought applause and to make things viral, such as Mrs. Nogueras removing the Spanish flag. It had a great media effect, but how exactly does it improve the lives of Catalans? That is why our great idea is to literally go back to politics, to sit down with everyone and negotiate for Catalonia, for the interests of Catalonia.
So your main claim is to return to pragmatism.
Absolutely. To return to reality, to accept that we are in the year 2023, that we should not look at where everyone was in recent years, that is, this country has to move beyond that era. We have not done so. There are people who in recent years on the electoral list and in the political space have defended different things, but if there is one thing that brings us together, it is the assumption that this time is over and that a new time is needed in which it is assumed that the procés is over.
You speak of compromise and negotiation. I understand that you are willing to negotiate an investiture with both the PP and the PSOE.
With whomever is necessary for the interests of Catalonia. It would be a mistake to think that if the winner of the elections is the PP, the response of the parties of Catalan obedience must be to show that we are very angry and stop playing politics. This seems to me to be totally irresponsible in the interests of Catalonia and the Catalans.
The conditions for negotiating with the PP are to take Vox out of the equation.
Can you negotiate with the PP even if they agree with Vox?
We will not negotiate anything with Vox. That is obvious. And the conditions for negotiating with the PP is to take out of the equation those who are stuck in a time when I was not born. That said, it is a colossal mistake to give up politics. We are running for Congress to make policy. If we want to put on a show, we don’t need to go to Congress, we buy a megaphone and start shouting.
You don’t have much affinity with Sumar economically either.
Our social and economic model is far from the idea of Sumar and the PSOE. It is an idea, from our point of view, that is too interventionist, that wants the role of the state to reach into people’s kitchens. We are not in favour of that. However, just as I say that the PP is a political actor, so is the PSOE and so is Sumar, despite the enormous programmatic differences with which we could hardly understand each other on many issues.
Define your economic and social model.
We are against the constant increase in the tax burden. We are opposed to inheritance tax, gift tax, wealth tax… We are in favour of lowering personal income tax and I believe that to be competitive a country has to have a tax scenario that allows it to be competitive. Secondly, I believe that this country has been angry with itself for many years. We need new enthusiasm and a new desire and for the administration to applaud those who take the plunge, those who are enterprising, those who want to do things. This was in Catalonia’s DNA and now it has been lost. It must be recovered. We want a country where people who have an idea can take it forward without encountering economic and administrative obstacles. This is important.
You say that if the PP or the PSOE want to negotiate an investiture with you, they must respect Catalonia and go through the cashier. Be specific.
Respecting Catalonia means that any state political party should not use anti-Catalanism as a banner to seek votes in other territories. Therefore, this criticism of what we are, of Catalonia’s history or our language will be an unacceptable point for us when it comes to negotiating, because I criticised the childishness that I believe has been shown by the pro-procés parties – not pro-independence parties, for me they are pro-procés, not pro-independence, because they have done nothing for independence, as the results show… -, but it is also true that the irresponsibility and the desire to inflame public debate and emotions on the part of the other side has been enormous. For this reason, we will oppose any party that seeks votes by setting fire to Catalonia, its language and its culture.
What about cashing up?
It would be all very well to quantify what has to be paid. But back to adult politics… it cannot be quantified. What is clear is that Catalonia suffers a structural funding deficit, if you look at what the autonomous community contributes and what it receives, there is a brutal imbalance. But the only way to solve this, although there are solutions and magic formulas and precious headlines, is to put pressure on the president in office if he needs us, to be able to sweep Catalonia off its feet. That is what we are going to do.
What makes you different from Míriam Nogueras or Gabriel Rufián? Some talk about raising the price of their votes. Others say that nothing will ever be the same if governability depends on them.
The first thing that separates us is that I live in the year 2023 and not anchored in the year 2015.The second thing is that I believe that politics is something very serious and adult and not a theatre for show business. I think these are two significant enough elements that differentiate the point we are at. I said a few days ago that I’m as similar to Míriam Nogueras as an egg to a chestnut. The political space I represent has sometimes tried to mix us up with Junts, but if this political space did not stand in the elections, I would not vote for JxCat.