SANTIAGO TARÍN, JAUME V. AROCA 16/08/2020
Puigdemont and Urkullu agreed in Barcelona in the tribute to the victims of Hipercor in 2017. Puigdemont asks the lehendakari for mediation (Alex Garcia)
What do Urkullu’s documents given to Poblet reveal about the Catalan ‘procés’?
Iñigo Urkullu feared the effect that the unilateral declaration of Catalan independence could have in the Basque Country. He was well aware of what a broken, broken society means. And he also feared that it would lead to an involution of the autonomous state. “The 155 is a notice for navigators,” he writes in one of the reports that the lehendakari deposited in the archive Josep Tarradellas of Poblet.
After the application of this article of the Constitution, Urkullu presented a plan to normalize the situation in Catalonia to the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, in which he defended an agreed consultation that would lead to a new balance, but always through dialogue, without haste and without fracturing society.
Urkullu’s role in the autumn crisis of 2017, which led to the unilateral declaration of independence and the suspension of Catalan autonomy, was no less: required from different sectors, he sought to mediate so that the waters did not leave the channel, although in the end he could not avoid it. A copy of his notes, letters and messages he exchanged with different personalities have been deposited in the monastery of Poblet.
In the archive is saved everything he wrote or said, but there are no references to what his interlocutors answered, among others, Mariano Rajoy, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk, various ministers of the executive of the PP, Pedro Sánchez, Juan José Omella, Oriol Junqueras, Ximo Puig, Marta Pascal, Santi Vila and, above all, Carles Puigdemont , with which he maintained an intense crossover of messages after the former president himself asked him, in July 2017, to mediate with the central government. There are more than 600 pages that can be consulted as La Vanguardia has done.
The PNV politician refuses to recognize in the Basque Parliament the ‘Catalan republic’
Urkullu’s fears of what happened in Catalonia following the virtual declaration of independence on October 27 are recorded in a report that ends in the days when Puigdemont has lost all contact with him – in his book M’explico Puigdemont he tells that he takes his mobile phone to Paris, by an alleged mistake, Clara Ponsatí.
Urkullu warns that the application of Article 155 – the suspension of autonomy – “is a warning to navigators” for governments such as the Basque.
For the lehendakari, the application of this article of the Constitution is the failure of the policy that would result in a complaint against Puigdemont, the Govern and the Bureau of Parliament; that would lead to polarization and radicalization while fearing political, judicial and street turmoil. “In short,” it can be read, “you can open up a conflict of legitimacy overlaid on legality.”
Urkullu fears for relations between PNV and PSE – allies in the Basque Government – which will be exploited by Podemos and Bildu. But also to some sectors of his own party such as that of ex-lehendakari Juan José Ibarretxe, who proposes that the Basque Parliament be the first to recognize the declaration of independence of Catalonia. “I could not vote in favour of recognizing the Catalan Republic. I couldn’t do it out of consistency. Not only because I am not in favour of unilateral and less than those managed by fracturing society. For consistency,” Urkullu writes in his notes on October 27, because President Puigdemont himself asked me for help because he did not want to proceed with the unilateral declaration of independence. The same as the coordinator of the PDECat (Marta Pascal) and indirectly the President of ERC (Oriol Junqueras).” “I could not vote in favour,” adds a few paragraphs later, “because today’s event was concatenated with what was carried out on October 1st without a minimum of participation and result.”
Poblet’s papers describe illogical positions in Puigdemont and censor Junqueras
The will of the lehendakari Urkullu to reach an agreed solution will extend beyond the virtual declaration of independence on the 27th and the subsequent flight from the Govern with whose members – as is clear from this documentation – will barely have contact again after that date.
But his critical position towards what happened in Catalonia does not prevent – quite the contrary – his censorship of the Spanish government. He is disappointed by the King’s attitude in his speech in his controversial speech on October 3. “It is not realistic or recognizes the different feelings of the Catalan people,” he writes.
He also feels disappointed with Rajoy who draws in his notes as a character with little room for manoeuvre in the face of proposals, those of Puigdemont, which are, in his opinion, “illogical” to reach a path of dialogue.
While Puigdemont, in his book M’explico describes himself as someone willing to find a meeting point with the State, Urkullu suggests, through these documents, that the former president did not always act with that same provision, sometimes by pressure from others and others of his own free will.
Even in January 2019, he sent a proposal to Sanchez to open a dialogue table
Nor, in his notes, leaves Oriol Junqueras very well, of which he says: “The worst of politics has been embodied in him”.
Urkullu’s final proposal materializes in a message sent to President Pedro Sánchez in January 2019, that is, when the motion of censure has already been held and a long year after the events of October 2017 and in which he proposes – as he had already done before and after the declaration – the holding of a legal referendum , agreed and with a majority stake that allows the people of Catalonia to decide on their “status of self-government” in relation to Spain. Urkullu believes that no one should end up in prison because of what happened and that an economic boost is needed for Catalonia before a Generalitat which, “in the opinion of many citizens, is only dedicated to independence”. The list of tasks on the Urkullu road is still pending. For all of us.