Joan Tapia, July 8, 2021 President of the Editorial Committee
Junqueras and Puigdemont, in Waterloo. / ACN
A great Catalan deficiency, for years, is the lack of internal dialogue. It is therefore necessary to assess well the Waterloo meeting between the two referents -Oriol Junqueras and Carles Puigdemont- of the second and third Catalan parties. More when the appointment was forced so that the coalition of the Generalitat had some credibility. And that the meeting again of Junqueras, fresh out of jail, and Carles Puigdemont, in exile, after almost four years also aroused interest.
Well for the meeting, even if it was cold and the three hugs -Junqueras dixit- were hidden from the press. But the two protagonists of the great mistake of October 27, 2017 owe an explanation about the famous DUI (unilateral declaration of independence), which consolidated an unfortunate stage of Catalan politics.
Until then there had been great mistakes, but it had not reached the almost irreparable that could have been avoided. Puigdemont called a press conference to announce an election that would have removed – there is the testimony of Lendakari Urkullu – the application of art.155. The independence movement says that Rajoy did not give guarantees and would have applied it for sure. It does not seem credible -except if Puigdemont and Junqueras demonstrate it- because it would have been impossible to justify -and more to Europe- a 155 with elections called, because the PSOE would not have voted it and because, perhaps due to his proverbial laziness, Rajoy himself did not want it. His critics – including Felipe González – say that the art. 155 should have been applied earlier, in September, when two Parliamentary agreements violated the rule of law. Thus, there would have been no referendum or court cases.
Why did Puigdemont backtrack in his intention to call elections? Why did Junqueras allow the accusations of treason against the president (the famous 155 silver coins)? They must explain it to the independence movement, to whom they doomed to humiliation and years of troubles, and to the non-independent Catalans – who according to the surveys of the CEO of the Generalitat are half – who suffered the denial and the violation of the norms of the Statute.
Now, the Court of Accounts requires millionaire bonds from 34 high-ranking officials and quite a few Catalans (according to the daily survey by Josep Cuní and this newspaper) do not approve that, indirectly, the Generalitat saves the situation. I think they are confused. The Generalitat would not pay a fine – currently non-existent – but would only prevent the defendants from facing a disproportionate bail. And in a ‘rare’ case of the Court of Accounts, since the lawyers only had three hours for their defense briefs.
But the fact that many Catalans, who approve the pardons, do not support the initiative of the Generalitat should make one think. There is division in Catalonia, and just as pardons were convenient to overcome it, Puigdemont and Junqueras owe an explanation.
The independence movement presumes to be the new centrality of the country and to have the support of the Catalan ruling class. Perhaps, but a prominent businessman tells me – smiling from ear to ear – that a bail of 5 million is unaffordable for an ordinary citizen, but not for ten millionaires, at 500,000 euros per beard, who would like to face it (even if it was in a anonymous way). He adds: It would cost them less than the gasoline on the yacht next summer.
Why now the millionaires, if they were, are no longer? Perhaps because Puigdemont and Junqueras, who speak little to each other, are even more reluctant to explain themselves.