07/03/2021

"Do not compete, do not embellish..."

3 min
"You don't compete, you don't flourish..."
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Negotiators strive to say that "the climate is good" while the social environment and economic confidence is as thick as fog on good days, and on bad days it is the windstorm that precedes the hurricane at the end of the furlough scheme.

After a relationship of mistrust between the coalition government partners over the last three years, the Catalan elections have left an extraordinarily complicated scenario for negotiations if we do not want to end up with a divided, contradictory and permanently competing government like the previous one. In other words, a nightmare at a crossroads of historic change that not only affects us and our navel but also Europe and the world.

In Catalonia, the elections have changed the weight of the responsibility to lead, and Pere Aragonès would do well to see as soon as possible that it is he and his people who will have to weave complicities, but that they will have to govern and not refrain from doing so at key moments, however delicate and unpopular they may be.

Once again the CUP has the capacity to act as kingmaker and it is up to ERC to decide how far it is willing to be devoured by the maximalists. The CUP does not deceive and can inspire more than acceptable social policies if there are budgets, but it does not seem an easy or recommendable travelling companion for a government that will have to focus on the economic reconstruction of a country basically forged by small and medium-sized businesses with their workers and an army of self-employed.

With a week to go until the Parliament is constituted, ERC is calling for "generosity" and maintains its strategy of putting itself in the middle of the table by opening negotiations with the CUP, Junts and En Comú Podem simultaneously. Both sides consider that "the climate is very different than at other times" and that progress is being made in terms of trust, but they all know that they will force ERC to choose and that they will not make the variable geometry easy for it. In fact, Junts says that "the broad road will have to be closed" and does not acknowledge the possibility of the CUP presiding over the Parliament, anticipating a few days of pressure.

Decisions on the role of the anti-capitalists in Parliament will precede the government's negotiations with Junts, today focused on exploring "a common strategy" on issues relating to how to deal with future legal proceedings and the functioning of the potential negotiating table, and in the expectation of whether the agreements with the CUP will raise its negotiating price.

If the investiture of Carles Puigdemont in 2016 involved decapitating Artur Mas, and that of Quim Torra came 144 days after the elections, this time it does not look easy either.

The climate will be formally good among the negotiators, and in fact it is more discreet, but in society there is confusion and fear of the future and there is no time to lose. Catalonia cannot afford a repeat election and the priority is a government that acts.

The State's democratic deficits are evident and, however deep the distance from the monarchy grows, a government that leads and acts in an uncomplicated manner is needed. The Generalitat has to reappear as an actor wherever decisions are taken about Catalonia, and it must not be excluded from either the industrial decisions critical to the country's future or the financial ones, as has happened in recent years, when the president of the Generalitat learned of the largest banking operation in the country's history through the media.

The focus must be on European funds and monitoring the Council of State's warnings on the need to improve audits and controls. To support the Catalan economy - an exporter and one that goes beyond the large Ibex companies -, to denounce, to act parliamentarily. Failure to do so would pave the way for the victory of a PSC that will not hesitate to capitalise on European funds in order to impose itself electorally three years from now.

Do not embellish

Chance, which had disappeared with the covid, magically reappears in an improvised conversation with Vicenç Altaió, who recalls a phrase of one of the giants of Catalan culture. He recalls when J.V. Foix said to a group of poets who listened to him with devotion: No concurseu, no floregeu, no acontenteu les tietes ("Do not compete, do not embellish, don't make aunts happy").

Building the future requires courage and solvency, taking risks and not accepting mediocrity, but thinking and acting in thirty years' time. The diagnosis has been made years ago. What is needed is a government that dares to rethink the country and pull it out of its depression by collaborating with the best. A government that does not compete, that does not pact with mediocrity, that does not lose its way in order to be popular but rather transformative. "Do not compete, do not embellish, don't make aunts happy", as J.V. Foix would say.

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