Rosa Paz June 30, 2021
The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, receives the ‘president’ of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, at the Moncloa Palace. / DAVID CASTRO
No one said it was going to be easy
Maximalist demands for self-determination and amnesty should be the last to appear, not the ones that are put on the table the first day. Especially since the government cannot accept them
They say that between Pedro Sánchez and Pere Aragonès there is more personal harmony than there has been in the last decade between the presidents of the Government and the ‘presidents’ of the Generalitat. Given the little sympathy that those who previously held those positions had, getting along better is not difficult. That, which could seem insubstantial, is, however, an important piece of information, because the progress or not of the new stage of dialogue that began on last Tuesday will depend a lot on that relationship. It will be essential that there is sufficient frankness between them to say things clearly, to trust each other and to generate, from there, a climate of trust between the two delegations that will sit at the dialogue table in the third week of September. They will have to be the ones to clear the way towards that future of harmony and coexistence that Sánchez speaks of and that, after hearing Aragonès’ arguments at the end of the meeting, seem to be pure utopia. But no one said this was going to be easy.
Of course, clearing the road will not be, because the path they have to travel is a political jungle dominated by the weeds that have been generated over years of unfortunate events and unsavory statements, and by the traps that those who are against the relationship running along a path of harmony. There, the two have on their own ground those who will try to block the path to prevent the negotiation from advancing: from the three parties of the Spanish right to the radicals of the CUP and Junts. But that the ‘president’ remains in his maximalist demands for self-determination and amnesty for all, also for those who have not yet been tried or from whom the Court of Auditors asks for very hich bail, does not help to move forward. Perhaps, those proposals should be the last to appear, not the ones that are put on the table the first day. Especially since the government has no chance to accept them. Spanish legislation does not contemplate them and a constitutional change is impossible to achieve with the current composition of Parliament and without the concurrence of the PP.
Sánchez and Aragonès have on their own land those who will try to block the path: from the three parties of the Spanish right to the radicals of the CUP and Junts
In order to find a way to heal the wounds in Catalonia and between Catalonia and Spain, it would surely be necessary to start talking about issues that allow reaching agreements and thus begin to deflate the situation. Regional financing, the use of European funds for recovery, infrastructures or the pandemic can be topics that allow positions to be brought closer together and put an end to the situation of open confrontation. But Aragonès made it clear, these issues will be dealt with in the State-Generalitat bilateral commission and will therefore remain outside the dialogue table. At the table, only a referendum for independence and amnesty. Thus posed, it is difficult to imagine a favorable evolution.
But at the meeting on Tuesday in Moncloa, Sánchez and Aragonès already arrived with part of the road clear. Moncloa and ERC have been talking for months about how to develop this negotiation process and the granting of pardons was, without a doubt, a crucial element so that things can turn out differently from now on. This gesture of the Government, in addition, had the counterpart that the ‘president’ allowed himself to be photographed with the King at the Cercle d’Economia days and that he later shared a table with the monarch at the inauguration of the Mobile World Congress. It must be admitted that neither the leaders of the right nor the Madrid media of the same sector are seasoned ‘palaulologists’ and, therefore, they are incapable of interpreting the small gestures with which Aragonès, like the old Soviet nomenclature, is expressing the light, but transcendent, changes. On the right they only see the broad brush. So they still only appreciate rudeness where there is a change of mood. Surely that is what you are also going to see from the meeting this Tuesday. But perhaps the minister spokesperson, María Jesús Montero, is right, and “we must allow time for the issues to mature” and “shared formulas” can be found to resolve “a matter that has been entrenched for too long.” It will not be easy, but it is not impossible.