The president maintains the path of the dialogue table despite Junts’ challenge to ERC’s strategy
Alex Tort, 30 August 2022
Pere Aragonès (centre), in Paris during the debate he held with former French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve (left), the President of Corsica, Gilles Simeoni, and the Vice-President of Guadeloupe, Marie-Luce Penchard (right).
Bernat Vilaró / ACN
“We define ourselves as Catalan independentists and European federalists”. Pere Aragonès has taken advantage of the invitation of the French employers’ association Medef to assure in Paris that sovereignism keeps alive the aspiration of an independent Catalonia within the European Union. The title of the debate, “Autonomous or independent, but Europeans first and foremost”, gave the President the opportunity to once again vindicate this aspiration. He did not consider whether this possibility exists administratively but justified that a hypothetical independent Catalonia cannot remain isolated because “in today’s world, with threats and challenges such as climate change, in the economic, energy and security spheres, cooperation between states is fundamental”.
Aragonès took part in an hour-long talk at the Longchamp racecourse, on the outskirts of Paris, alongside former French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, the President of Corsica, Gilles Simeoni, and the Vice-President of the Guadeloupe region, Marie-Luce Penchard. The French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, was also expected to take part, but in the end, he did not do so for personal reasons.
The president of the Generalitat referred to the October 2017 non-agreed referendum in Catalonia and the judicial consequences it has had. “For a year now, we have resumed a negotiation process to find a solution to this political conflict”, he reminded those present, in which the Government is calling for an agreed referendum and amnesty. These words have special relevance if one takes into account that Junts has given itself a month to decide whether to leave the government in the future. The post-convergence parties intend to give shape to the amendment they have formulated since the beginning of the legislature to ERC’s strategy in the national axis, which is based on the dialogue table.
For Aragonès, independence is the best way to manage a Catalan society that is “neither better nor worse, but which has its uniqueness”. The head of the Catalan Executive stressed that independence, in his opinion, is “profoundly pro-European”, and repeated that an independent Catalonia “makes sense within the framework of the EU”.
The former French Prime Minister assures the President of Corsica that “there is only one French people”.
Simeoni, for his part, has also put Corsican independence aspirations on the table, has sympathised with the Catalan sovereignty movement but has also marked differences. The President of Corsica pointed out that they are “far from having a statute of autonomy” like that of Catalonia. The response came from the former French prime minister: Cazeneuve wanted to stress that “there is only one French people” and looked back in time to affirm that “nationalism feeds war”.
At this point, Aragonès stressed that Catalan independence will not be the one to tell “the Corsican people or the French people how they should organise themselves”. In any case, the President assured that they view the situation with respect, while highlighting “the long history of complicity with the Corsican movement” that Catalan independence maintains with Corsica. “It should be up to society to decide”, he said.