Barcelona 19 NOV 2019 – 09:24 CET
Image: MASSIMILIANO MINOCRI
The president of the Catalan employers’ organization Foment del Treball, Josep Sánchez Llibre, raised the tone of his speech yesterday and strongly criticized the Executive of Quim Torra for the position held in the face of the riots in Catalonia in recent weeks, once the sentence of the procés was known. “Not condemning barbarism and not avoiding it is a serious irresponsibility of the Government”, said the now businessman, for years MP for Unió, who said that the right of assembly and demonstration “does not protect barbarism”.
His words were not heard live by Torra. Although initially he intended to attend the event called by the Catalan employers’ association to present the Carles Ferrer Salat awards, the president finally avoided attending and excused his absence by referring to a supposed issue of protocol. He blamed the Government of Pedro Sánchez for forcing Foment to have the acting Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, forego him, granting her the final turn of the political speeches, according to sources in his cabinet.
Instead of Torra his economic vice president, Pere Aragonès, attended. Three other advisers from the Generalitat also were present – Angels Chacón, Chakir El-Homrani and Damià Calvet – who did have to listen loudly to the president of Foment’s scolding for the position held by his Executive in recent weeks. Aragonès took his own distance from Torra and denied the possibility of avoiding an act like the one the employers’ organization offered yesterday. From there he called again to recover the so-called statement of Pedralbes woven a year ago between the central government and the Generalitat, although abandoned shortly after. “We can recover that path”, said Aragonès, who assumed that doing so will require “the generosity of all”.
Although the vice president of the Generalitat said that the current situation is even more complex than that of a year ago, he did not mention the protests of recent weeks, one of the axes of the Foment president’s speech. Sánchez Llibre even rhetorically wondered about the “responsibility” that everyone is having in protests that, he denounced, are affecting the Catalan economy and the prestige of the city of Barcelona and Catalonia. “Wanting to harm the economy, as the protagonists of this barbarism affirm, need a quick and efficient response from the authorities”, he said, in the face of what he called “violent acts and coercion”.
The highest officers of Fomento del Trabajo continue to maintain that there is still time to resolve the existing political conflict in Catalonia, whose resolution Sánchez Llibre relies on “negotiation, transaction and agreement”.
In addition to charging against the Government for its actions during the riots after the trial of the procés, the leader of the employers’ organization also criticized the inability of the central executive – and the Catalan one – to reach agreements. “A year has passed and we have not had any progress. Politics remains stagnant in itself without putting bright lights and attending to the general interest”, he reproached.
He had good but nuanced words for the announcement of PSOE and Unidas Podemos of the formation of a coalition government after the elections of November 10, which he said is good news “from the perspective of responsibility”.
Next, he demanded stability, moderation and rigor from the leaders of both parties and, above all, the conclusion of a government program in which their intentions are expressed. And he warned of the negative effects of a possible tax increase to augment the tax collection of the Administration: “More fiscal pressure would be an error and a brake on progress”, he warned, while demanding not to curb the reforms initiated, such as could be the labor one. Minister Calviño stressed that this agreement for a coalition government shows the commitment to provide Spain with “political stability and social serenity” with “constructive positions”.