The negotiating table begins

2 min
Meeting of the dialogue table to the Generalitat.

BarcelonaAfter many toing and froing and an important internal crisis in the Catalan executive, the negotiating table has begun with the presence of the Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, in the Palau de la Generalitat. As he himself remarked, his presence, which was mired in uncertainty until the very last minute, was the most important message, since it staged the commitment of the Spanish government with the idea that dialogue is the only way to resolve the Catalan political conflict. Both he and the President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, noted the enormous difference that separates them and that it will be very difficult to reach an agreement. However, but they agreed on the how: negotiation without deadlines. That is, a dialogue that can be faced without the pressure of a deadline, with public meetings and others that will be more discreet, since the complexity of the conflict calls for patience and perseverance.

However, Aragonès also stressed that the table has to bear fruit - "concretions", he said - that serve to "build trust" between the two sides. This means that what is a rule in all complex negotiation processes will be applied: starting where positions are closer. It is therefore these small agreements that must create a favourable climate of trust before being able to address the core of the conflict, which is no other than seeking a formula that will allow citizens to express their opinion on Catalonia's political future.

It is clear that the PSOE government will not accept from the outset either amnesty nor the right to self-determination, which are the Catalan side's main demands. But it is true that the pro-independence movement does not currently have a clear alternative to achieve its goal, and that the international community is committed to a negotiated solution to the conflict. The Catalan side, therefore, has to be strong on the idea of dialogue and negotiation, and also on objectives that are widely shared by Catalan society, such as the end of repression and the referendum.

Sánchez, therefore, will have to make gestures if he wants the table, and with it the ERC's support in the Spanish parliament, to last over time. And let's remember that there are things that can be done within the legal framework and that only depend on political will. As former minister Ábalos said, it is necessary to "unblock" the road, and today the biggest stones blocking it are the court cases that affect thousands of people. Just yesterday, one of the members of the negotiating table, Catalan Minister Roger Torrent, testified before Catalonia's High Court for an alleged crime of disobedience for having processed resolutions in favour of self-determination and against the monarchy. The litmus test to know whether Sánchez takes the negotiation seriously, then, will be to find concrete solutions to defuse judicial repression and situations such the seizures by the Court of Auditors or exiles. The negotiating table will only survive if it is useful, because there is no shortage of detractors, both inside and outside Catalonia.