Joan Tapia, President of the Editorial Committee
July 3, 2021
The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the ‘president’, Pere Aragonès, are addressing their meeting in Moncloa on June 29. / DAVID CASTRO
The week ended well. Within the OECD framework, 130 countries have agreed to a minimum corporate tax of 15%. A big step, impossible without the Biden presidency. But the devil is in the details and the European Ireland has not signed.
In Spain an important pension pact has been reached. But the PP is against it, it reproaches the CEOE for its signature and, furthermore, Minister Escrivá forgot that a good minister should not always say what a solvent economist thinks. And June has certified the rebound: 233,000 new jobs and 84,000 fewer workers in ERTE.
There has been progress in the Catalonia-Spain relationship, but 15 years of conflict –from the appeals against the Statute– are not erased with nine pardons. And less if the Spanish right and the pro-independence maximalism (“together in union”, as the requeté anthem says) torpedo everything. Josep Cuní, in Ser Catalunya, asks his listeners a question every day. The results are not scientific, but “you know where the fire is from the smoke.” On Monday –after the Mobile’s inauguration dinner with Felipe VI, Pedro Sánchez and Pere Aragonès–, 91% said they wished the new Catalonia-Spain relationship would prosper. But on Tuesday, 63% said that the Court of Accounts interfered in Pedro Sánchez’s strategy with Catalonia. And on Wednesday, 54% (against 46%) did not feel confident after the summit in Moncloa between Sánchez and Aragonès.
Sánchez and Aragonès must move forward without the right wing and ‘pro-independence’ maximalism dislodging them by accusing them of treason.
The gray smoke indicates that there is no new Pope (a good deal at hand), but it does indicate that another stage has opened. Let’s make a bold comparison. Until Stalin’s death, relations between the USSR and the United States were one of great hostility – the Korean War, the Prague coup and the creation of the Iron Curtain – but in the mid-1950s Nikita Khrushchev proclaimed peaceful coexistence: there were two systems incompatible worlds, but they had to coexist peacefully for a season, until the victory of communism and the defeat of evil capitalism. And although he tapped the UN desks, relations between the two powers improved. Even the Cuban missile crisis was saved. And in the end communism did not win and a capitalism tinged with some social democracy prevailed.
Between Madrid and Catalonia we have lived through a time of confrontations: Constitutional ruling against a previously voted Statute, unilateral declaration of independence of 2017, imprisonment of Oriol Junqueras and escape from Puigdemont … And the cold war continued with Torra, refusing to negotiate nothing, and the judgment of the Supreme.
Perhaps we are leaving there and entering a stage (Aragonès has agreed two years with JxCat and the CUP) of peaceful coexistence between two incompatible positions. Aragonès proclaims, upon leaving Moncloa, that he demands amnesty and a self-determination referendum. Sánchez answers in Congress that “never again”, unless approved by three-fifths of Congress with the socialist vote against. Aragonès cannot say otherwise after having formed a Government of ‘disunited independence unit’. Sánchez tells the truth: the PSOE neither wants nor can change the Constitution through the back door.
But peaceful coexistence can give way to an absence of laws that exceed their limits and of their obligatory judicial resources, to public investments and measures that are softening. Then, as the song says, “it is time who will tell later.” And Miquel Iceta, who in 2017 and in full 155 already suggested pardons, speaks of a referendum to vote a new pact. Would the “no” ones be those of independence? And of a non-uniform federalism. Euskadi? Pasqual Maragall?
Can peaceful coexistence end in a reasonable pact two years from now? It is more possible today than before the pardons. Miguel de Unamuno wrote in 1912 “On the tragic feeling of life.” Everything will depend on whether in Madrid and in Barcelona the planetary feeling of life commands more, or on the contrary, that of exclusive nationalism.
The future is open and we are in Europe. It is not a guarantee. The EU exists, but the old states are suspicious. And Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini want to destroy her. In any case, peaceful coexistence is always better than a permanent cold war.