14/09/2021

Catalan government gives deplorable image before the negotiating table

2 min
The president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, accompanied by ERC councillors Laura Vilagrà and Roger Torrent addressing the government meeting on Tuesday

BarcelonaERC and Junts have stretched the negotiations to form a government to the limit with the argument that they did not want to repeat the mistakes of the past and that they aspired to form a strong and cohesive executive. However, at the first sign of trouble, and on such vital issues as the airport or the negotiating table, this cohesion has collapsed and has revealed that there is no minimum common ground to ensure governability for the next four years. In the last few hours, the spectacle of division and criticism between partners before the negotiating table with the Spanish government on Wednesday has been simply deplorable.

In essence, the facts are as follows. After a tug-of-war that lasted months, ERC managed to get Pedro Sánchez to participate in the first meeting of the negotiating table. The formula, designed to avoid wearing down the Spanish president, is a bilateral meeting between the two presidents, who would later be present at the start of the meeting proper. This format did not please Junts, who had threatened in the previous days not to participate in the meeting if Sánchez did not attend. At the same time, during the summer, Aragonès had asked his partners to appoint Government members as delegates, arguing that this would give it with maximum institutional status. He himself proposed that he be accompanied by ministers Vilagrà and Torrent. And this Tuesday morning, just before the meeting of the executive council, Junts ignored the President's request and made a public statement revealing their delegates, among which there was only one member of the Catalan Government, vice president Puigneró. The other three were Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull and Míriam Nogueras.

Faced with this challenge from his partners, Aragonès decides to reject the delegates Junts proposed and the cabinet passed an agreement in which only ERC members are included in the Catalan delegation. Afterwards, the president appears to explain that he keeps the door open to incorporating Junts members as long as they rectify, which they do not do. The fact is that, if there is no new twist in the script, tomorrow we will witness the institutionalisation of the fracture of the Catalan Government, with a negotiating delegation that will be made up entirely of ERC members.

Given this, it is legitimate to wonder what the future holds for a Government that in recent weeks has shown insurmountable differences on two issues as important as El Prat airport and the dialogue table. And not only this, but in this case Junts has directly questioned the President of the Generalitat's authority and has ignored his request. It should be pointed out here that Aragonès, as president and leader of the most voted pro-independence force, has the right to lead the negotiation, to set the rules of the game and to demand a minimum of institutional loyalty from his partners. Because, ultimately, the lack of Catalan unity benefits the Spanish government and Pedro Sánchez, who wanted to save himself the trouble of the meeting and now sees how his presence has weakened the Catalan side of the table.

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