Francesc Valls, 22 August 2021
The Executive of the Generalitat leads its first quarter among the criticism of its members of Junts to the dialogue with Sánchez
The Government of Pere Aragonès walks its 100 days of existence with the intention of turning the page of Quim Torra. They are not the same even though the same parties have governed Catalonia since 2012. Now, under the leadership of a pragmatic ERC, they have wanted to open a stage that tries to put management in the foreground and avoids setting deadlines for independence. The dialogue with the Government and the declared will to improve the living conditions of the citizens are interspersed with the political stabs of Junts against the negotiation with Madrid . The Executive fulfills its first quarter weighed down by the burden of a decade of procés , which forces it to season its will to pragmatism with the inevitable patriotic rhetoric.
Something has changed regarding the Executive of Torra. But little further reaches the consensus of parties and employers’ and social organizations. Where some see hopeful signs – such as the expansion of the El Prat airport and the 2030 Winter Olympics -, others see little interest in straightening the course of a society in which the economy grows (4.1% in the second quarter) while poverty increases (466,000 citizens with severe material deprivation, according to 2020 data).
Entities such as the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages (PAH) judge that little progress has been made, for example, in the protocol on the police action of the Mossos in evictions. Catalonia, with 24 evictions a day, led the first quarter of this year the list in evictions, according to data from the General Council of the Judiciary. The PAH, in the words of its spokesperson Lucía Delgado, is waiting for the Parliament to approve a bill in the fall to prevent vulnerable people from becoming homeless and having a social rental offer, in the case of large holders. “On October 31 the moratorium on evictions due to the pandemic ends and we can break records with 26,000 cases in Catalonia,” explains Delgado.
For Xavier Puig, president of the Catalan Social Action Entities (ECAS), there are very good ideas in the Government, the problem is how to develop them. “The same parties have been in charge of Catalonia for ten years,” explains Puig, and “we are always returning to the starting box, as has happened with the economic study for a strategic plan for social services.” “The same has happened with the technical office to address the Universal Basic Income,” adds Puig. As an example of the divorce between words and deeds, since the process began, the Indicator of the Sufficiency Income of Catalonia (IRSC) , the scale for granting social benefits , has not been reviewed .
Aragonès pledged in his inauguration speech to approve a 700 million euro social shock plan in his first one hundred days in office. At the moment there is no news about it, the socialist PSC criticizes. The president also assured in the same speech that he would prepare budgets that have not been made. In a few days the negotiation will open for those of 2022. Jordi Casas, director of the presidential cabinet of the business organization Foment, sees there a turning point, since they will mark the general lines of the Executive. “Apparently there is more stability, but we are concerned that on the issue of the expansion of the airport or the dialogue there are such divergent opinions,” he says.
For business organizations it would be desirable that the accounts open a new scenario with the PSC. But all the political sources consulted agree that ERC is unlikely to change its policy of alliances with Junts and the CUP . So much ideological diversity allows the general secretary of union CC OO of Catalonia, Javier Pacheco, to affirm that there is little to expect from the budgets. “They have room to raise the high section of personal income tax, inheritance tax or green taxes, but they will not do it,” he says. And he emphasizes that there is no will to revise the IRSC or to extend the Guaranteed Citizenship Income, which only reaches a third of the most vulnerable population. However, the attitude of this government is more positive than that of the previous one.
In the political field, in the PSC – the majority force of the Parliament – they are very hard with Aragonès: he is a president who does not lead . Eva Granados, Deputy First Secretary of the PSC, assures that the first 100 days of the self-titled Republican Generalitat “have been disappointing”: “The Aragonès is a government that vetoes in Catalonia the dialogue that it requests from the rest of Spain, since it has refused to set the table between the Catalan parties ignoring the non-independence half of Catalonia ”.
David Cid, spokesman for the group En Comú Podem in the Parliament, considers that Aragonès is trapped by projects of the past, such as the expansion of El Prat or the Winter Games and confirms the division on the independence strategy between ERC and Junts, which is he was reluctant to give his vows to Aragonès. In this sense, the Government was born with forceps, after three months of negotiation and two unsuccessful investiture attempts.
There are not a few who within the neo-convergent space predict a short life for the Executive. “Three or four meetings [of the dialogue table] will show that the path proposed by ERC has no way out,” say Junts sources. The Republicans, however, are convinced of their ability to survive thanks to the fact that an unwritten pact of mutual support has been established between the PSOE and them and that for two years – until the general elections or the motion of confidence to which they are Aragonès promised – there will be no betrayals. Those voices added that this will be so because the two formations are needed and indicate that the rudeness of ERC to the Spanish Government are an inevitable part of the tolls of the procés .