Aragonès demands "protection" of Catalan in films and TV before processing the state budget

The president stresses the need for a "favourable agreement" on the law to be able to "face" the debate of the budget

3 min
President Aragonès this Friday with the Balearic President, Francina Armengol

BarcelonaRepublican Left of Catalonia ERC has exactly one week to decide if it presents an amendment to the the State budget and positions with the PSOE continue for now to be very distant, the republicans insist. Some of the conditions they set – at least publicly – to give the budget the green light are various and rather vague, such as progress in the dialogue table or guarantees that investments foreseen in Catalonia will be carried out. There are others, however, that are clearer. The president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, insisted this Friday on one of them: including the "protection" of Catalan in the new Spanish audiovisual media law, a demand that is not guaranteed in the draft that Moncloa is working on. Despite making it clear that these are not "directly linked" issues, the president has demanded a "favourable agreement" in this sense to be able to "face" the debate on the budget. "It is important that this issue is unlocked before the processing of budgets," he said.

Aragonès made this reflection in an appearance from the Generalitat next to the Balearic president, the socialist Francina Armengol. It was after a meeting in the Palau of an hour and forty minutes and just a day after the Catalan, Balearic and Valencian heads of language policy shared the need to protect the presence of Catalan in films, TV and online streaming platforms. During the joint appearance, the two presidents insisted on this demand. According to Aragonès, Catalan must appear in the regulation with a percentage that protects it in the media, both in terms of dubbing and productions, while Armengol stressed the need for the text to take into account the financing of the regional public television channels. Aragonès has assured that they are negotiating with the executive of Pedro Sánchez, despite the fact that a week ago sources from the Moncloa closed the door on an agreement before the 3rd and 4th of November, when the debate on the budget law will be held.

The Spanish government's current position – which also rules out for now the complete transfer of commuter trains or the Via Laietana police station – does not escape Aragonès. And that is why, hours before the meeting with Armengol, he wanted to insist in an interview in SER Catalunya that ERC is currently closer to saying no than yes to the State budget. The state of the audiovisual law has been one of the reasons that has been raised, but also the fact that the State has only fulfilled for now 13% of the investments it agreed to carry out in Catalonia this year: "If the agreements that are incorporated into a budget are not executed later, why do we reach agreements?" he wondered. "Now we want guarantees of compliance," he said. He has not explained, however, how they would have to specify these guarantees, already demanded last weekend by ERC party president Oriol Junqueras.

In the appearance in the Palau, Armengol has avoided taking a stance on ERC, but she has taken advantage of the mention to defend the state budget, which - she emphasised - are "good" in terms of social expenditure. The two presidents have tried not to reveal any differences and have focused on the will to "strengthen" relations between Catalonia and the Balearic Islands and, especially, their governments. In this sense, they have announced the will to seek "spaces of collaboration" with the projects derived from European funds. Aragonès and Armengol, who will meet again at the end of November in Palma, have also stated that the current funding model is "insufficient". The Balearic president had reproached the Catalan government, in a morning interview on TV3, for not getting involved with the rest of the communities in the reforming the system, but Aragonès has later insisted that the Catalan government's "political approach of the future" is centred around self-determination.

"They are approaching positions with the CUP".

In the interview on SER Catalunya, Aragonès has also made a reference to the Catalan budgets and has assured that they are closer to reaching an agreement with CUP to approve them, contrary to what CUP MP Eulàlia Reguant told ARA. "The model we defend is not that of the PSC for sure. With the CUP we agree on more things," Aragonès insisted, ruling out looking for other partners for the budget. In this sense, he has played down the changes that the CUP demands in the model of public order and showed himself in favour of renewing and adapting the police model in Catalonia. "It must always be in constant adaptation," he said.