Aragonès conditions ERC's support for Sánchez to advances in dialogue

The president warns deadlock may have consequences in ERC's positioning in the Spanish parliament

3 min
Pedro Sánchez and Pere Aragonès entering the Moncloa.

Generalitat president Pere Aragonès is redoubling the pressure on Pedro Sánchez. The head of the executive has launched a warning this Sunday, telling the Spanish president that unless progress is made in the resolution of the conflict between Catalonia and Spain, ERC could halt its support of the Socialists in the Spanish parliament. In an interview with Público, Aragonès recalled that the support for the head of the Spanish executive came about "because there was a commitment to move towards a resolution". "If this commitment is in question or does not materialise, I think everyone will understand that it will have consequences for ERC's political positioning in the Spanish Parliament," he said.

Looking ahead to a possible future investiture of a PSOE president, Aragonès said: "[At ERC] We always try to learn from the facts and experiences, and here we will also learn depending on how it evolves". "Depending on this, we will make decisions in the next legislature," he added. The president has not hidden his displeasure at the stalemate in negotiations, and has blamed the Spanish government. "Right now we are in a certain situation of deadlock, but there continues to be interlocution. And, therefore, it is the Spanish government that has make a decision on whether it wants to resolve the political conflict or not. But if it wants to resolve it, it will not be by means of imposition, but by means of negotiation and recognition of Catalonia. We have made a proposal and now we are waiting for the State's proposal", he explained.

During the conference he gave on February 14 at the MNAC, Aragonès did not go so far in his warnings to Sánchez: in line with what he had done a month before in a speech in Madrid, he used the the threat of the far-right. In this sense, Aragonès spurred the Spanish president to resolve the political conflict and to leave "immobilism" and "the blockade" so as not to open the door to a right-wing government in coalition with the far right. "Without a resolution of the political conflict, Spain is sliding towards authoritarianism," he said.

Criticism from the independence movement

On the other hand, after having listened to criticism from JxCat and the CUP to his strategic proposal of for the future of the independence movement, Aragonès asked for loyalty and concrete proposals from those he considers his partners. "I accept all criticism, but what I ask is that there be alternatives. Criticism without an alternative is insufficient to respond to what citizens are asking for. I can understand that my proposal can be amended, improved or contested, but only on the basis of alternatives that are viable and that incorporate the lessons learned from what has happened in this country in recent years, especially regarding the consequences of [the Independence Referendum on ] October 1, 2017," he explained in the interview.

In the same way, he has been "surprised" by "this way of doing politics that consists of making many statements to the media but not transferring these opinions to the spaces of interlocution that we have", referring especially to criticism by JxCat leaders of government proposals. "I will not play that game. I think that what has happened in Parliament with MP Juvillà speaks for itself and we have all been able to see how it has gone. I have always shown my respect as President towards the Speaker because I think we have to respect institutions. And that's why I think I have the right to ask that this should also happen the other way around," he said.