Manuel Campos Vidal /. June 15, 2021
The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, greets the President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès.
The pardons fracture the independence movement
The annual meeting of the Cercle d’Economia tries to avoid decline by taking advantage of the new political climate
If you dive into the debate of the pardons to the pro-independence crew that is fought on the surface, you can see very interesting pictures reserved for the underwater world of politics. In the last week, which began with an “all against Pedro Sánchez” for his determination to grant pardons, although limited and conditional, some historical PSOE barons such as Felipe González, José Bono or Guillermo Fernández Vara from Extremadura, moderated their initial opposition to the decision of the Government. At the time, barons of the PP in command, such as the Andalusian Moreno Bonilla, the Galician Núñez Feijóo and the Castilian Mañueco, distanced themselves from the concentration in the Plaza de Colón against the measure. They know how to read his own history: Aznar, from the Government, was the champion of the pardons, most of them very little questionable.
The letter from the prison of the leader of ERC, Oriol Junqueras, accepting the pardon and showing his willingness to calm dialogue, has contributed to this change of positions that augurs a stage with fewer confrontations between Catalonia and Spain. In contrast, tensions are soaring in the independence bloc. Esquerra, who already presides over the Generalitat, which has not happened since the Second Republic, seems to have decided to make a political life of his own, shaking off the reverential fear of the fled former identity, Carles Puigdemont. Within his party, Junts per Catalunya, the Puigdemont Taliban harass his general secretary, Jordi Sànchez, as lukewarm, who will also be pardoned. The pardons divide the independence movement, clearly. Elisenda Paluzié, president of the Catalan National Assembly, explained it bluntly: pardons, she said, divide us and weaken us on the international scene, because they reinforce the image of a dialoguing Spain. She considers them an intelligent measure of the Spanish Government, harmful to the independence movement and that “leaves out the exiles”.
With Puigdemont dislodged before the grace measure, the Minister of Podemos, Ione Belarra, threw a cable asking him to return without being arrested. In minutes, the spokeswoman María Jesús Montero, a socialist, pointed out: “Puigdemont must be made available to Justice”.
As a new relaxed political climate makes its way, the Catalan Cercle d’Economia prepares its annual reflection meeting entitled “The Great Reconstruction”. Pedro Sánchez, Pere Aragonès, King Felipe VI and the President of South Korea will attend. Catalan businessmen ask that Madrid stop acting “like an economic vacuum cleaner”, taking advantage of the capital factor of the State. It is only part of the problem. The conflictive Catalan policy is the one that has been acting as an investment centrifuge. The last disappointing decision was the choice of Malaga, instead of Barcelona, by Google, for the construction of a center of excellence for cyber-security. They are 650 million investment. And Amazon has already chosen three Aragonese towns to locate its “region” in southern Europe, in an operation that will generate more than a thousand qualified jobs.
The reputational damage to Catalonia inflicted by the ‘procés’ will take a long time to heal. The problem is not only that companies and banks left, but that those that normally had to arrive do not arrive in a long time. Hence, the Cercle d’Economia tries to avoid decline by taking advantage of the new political climate. Hope is the basic fuel for “the great recovery” promoted by the entity, now chaired by Xavier Faus.