Politics 11/09/2021

Aragonès defends bringing "all the strength" of Catalonia Day to the dialogue table

He calls for "joining forces" on the path of dialogue on the day that JxCat is once again attacking him

3 min
The President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, during his speech at the Fiesta.

against BarcelonaOne of the key issues that will be read this September 11th is where the pro-independence roadmap has to go. Right now the movement is divided between those in favour of giving a chance to the dialogue table with the State and those who criticise it and defend returning to unilateralism. Among the former is the president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, who this Friday has taken advantage of the traditional speech of Catalonia Day to defend this instrument of negotiation. In fact, he has linked it with the mobilisation planned for tomorrow. The president's idea is to take "all the strength" that the Catalans show "every 11th of September by filling squares and streets" to demand amnesty and self-determination from the Spanish government at the meeting next week.

Aragonès was aware that today, as with the New Year's speech, is a day on which the President of the Generalitat is authorised to enter the Catalan people's home with his address. He has taken advantage of it to vindicate this table of dialogue, of which ERC is the intellectual author and that up to now has not had much of a path. Even so, Aragonès has defended that the meeting next week "is something that had never been achieved before" and means "opening a negotiation with the State, from government to government, to address the resolution of the political conflict". The head of the Catalan executive is aware that the table does not generate consensus in the independence movement, which is why he has promised to bring "all the ambition and firmness", but has also claimed to attend "joining forces" from the Catalan side. In fact, he has gone further by proposing "an alliance between institutions, parties, civil society and citizens to jointly recover the initiative", an initiative that the pro-independence movement has long since lost. "Time, unity and perseverance", he said, implicitly acknowledging that if the negotiation gets off the ground it will not be, at the very least, quick. He has however insisted that, as foreseen in the agreement between ERC and PSOE of January 2020 which created the table, the end station will be a "vote".

Therefore, Aragonès has seen Catalonia Day as an opportunity to champion the path of dialogue to achieve an agreed referendum, which seeks a reference point in the new referendum being prepared in Scotland. "As Scotland has done and will do again. A democratic process, free [...] and endorsed by the international community", he concluded. A way to also warn the State that it does not intend to "turn the page of" the Catalan independence bid, despite the fact that this is the message that the socialists repeatedly send to him. In fact, he took advantage of the speech to also address Catalans who are not in favour of independence - "you have a legitimate approach that must be taken into account", he said - and assure them that the referendum is also the best way for them because  it is still the way to give the two paths in dispute "the chance to win". In the first Catalonia Day after the pardons, he has criticised that the repression does not stop and is taking on new faces, like the Court of Auditors.

Conflict with JxCat

However, the proof that independentism is not going through a time of cohesion was seen once again this Friday at the roundtable. In a more vehement tone than in the institutional speech, in the morning Aragonès had taken advantage of Catalunya Ràdio's microphones to challenge those skeptics with the dialogue route to present an alternative. "If someone believes that there is an alternative path, let them explain it and make it concrete, but let them make it really concrete, exactly, and not just words", he proclaimed. A way of telling those in favour of unilateralism to say how it can be put into practice right now. The President of the Parliament, Laura Borràs, reacted immediately, considering that if anything is lacking in specifics, it is precisely the table: "Asking others for specifics when you are so poor in your own is not acceptable". The infinite stalemate in which the pro-independence movement has settled between those in favour of a dialogue that is difficult to get off the ground and those in favour of a unilateralism that is not necessary. ERC sources expressed their displeasure with the president's dart, as they considered that now is the time to "stick together" around the table.