Marius Carol, 12 November 2023
Fascinated by the rapporteur
The pro-independence movement is fascinated by the figure of the international rapporteur to accompany the agreements signed with the PSOE. ERC defended it in the person of Oriol Junqueras and likewise JxCat in the figure of Carles Puigdemont. This international mediators thing excites them: on the one hand, they tell the Spanish government that it cannot be trusted and, on the other, they reinforce the idea that the world is watching us. What happens is that the PSOE may accept some “mechanism” of control of what has been agreed (this is the term that appears in the agreement), but it will hardly approve the control of a foreign diplomat, as if it were a peace agreement.
Independence may dream of having figures such as Bill Clinton’s former adviser, Senator George Mitchell, who brokered the Good Friday agreement that ended the Northern Ireland conflict. Or Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair’s chief of staff, who was one of the mediators of the end of ETA. But the violence in Ulster and Euskadi demanded international cooperation, which has no parallel with the Catalan situation.
Junts wants an international mediator, but this is not included in the agreement with the PSOE.
Another thing would be to ask a Spanish figure of recognised prestige – such as Miquel Roca, Antonio Garrigues or José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero – to act as mediator in the agreements adopted. That would be understandable and would not question the reliability of Spanish democracy, which returned to the list of full democracies a year ago, according to The Economist barometer.
In any case, the mission of these international observers is always risky. The pro-independence movement should remember that the two missions of rapporteurs of the 1-O referendum, led by the Dutch ambassador Daan Everts and the New Zealand political scientist Helena Catt, valued the effort for the referendum in the repressive climate in which it took place, but denied its validity due to the many irregularities that were detected. The agreement between the two pro-independence forces and the government will require more political intelligence than outside interference, more empathy than gestures for the gallery. Dostoyevsky wrote: “Nothing is easier than to denounce the adversary, nothing is more difficult than to understand him”.