Aragonès to Sánchez: "It is urgent we talk. This is very serious"

Catalan and Spanish presidents meet and talk for a few minutes at the Cercle d'Economia conference

2 min

Barcelona"It is urgent we talk. This is very serious". This is what Catalan president Pere Aragonès told Spanish president Pedro Sánchez during the three-minute conversation they had at the doors of the W Hotel, in Barcelona, while they were waiting for the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who this Friday will receive an award at the Cercle d'Economia conference. The initial greeting was cold, but later Sánchez sought out Aragonès and they were seen talking and looking serious at a time when relations between the PSOE and ERC have hit rock bottom, in the wake of Catalangate spying scandal, of which the Catalan president was one of the victims.

According to sources familiar with the conversation, Aragonès told Sánchez of the seriousness of the situation caused by espionage and insisted it be addressed through a face-to-face meeting between the two, a summit that should help redirect relations between the two governments and also between ERC and PSOE. The Spanish government insists that dialogue President Sánchez's motto, and that there will be no problem in arranging a meeting, but for the moment they have not set a date. It also rejects pro-independence parties' main demand, Minister of Defence Margarita Robles's sacking over the scandal. "She has the government's full support", presidential officials insist.

Pedro Sánchez and Pere Aragonès meet at the Cercle d'Economia.

Before the meeting, and in an interview to Catalunya Ràdio, Aragonès said that after these revelation "the Spanish government's possibilities of stability this term are getting scarcer". "Trust is broken," he said. Even so, the Catalan president has also made it clear that he will not make the Spanish government "the gift" of leaving the dialogue table, but he has demanded to know "who gave the order" to spy on the independence movement and that all the information be declassified, especially the court authorisations to tap phones, which were shown to MPs on the officials secrets committee yesterday.

The dates of the espionage

The director of the CNI, Paz Esteban, confirmed spying yesterday, but the dates of the court authorisation do not correspond with infections using Pegasus detected by CitizenLab. The CNI acknowledges having spied on Aragonès during the protests over the conviction of pro-independence leaders, in autumn 2019, but the Canadian laboratory says the Pegasus infection took place while Sánchez's investiture was being negotiated, that is, between December 2019 and January 2020. The Catalan Govern believes this fact and considers it aggravates the scandal, since it would clearly be political espionage

At the Cercle d'Economia conference, the new president of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, referred to the espionage crisis and described everything that has happened in the last week in Spanish and Catalan politics as "anti-politics". Feijóo's distanced himself from Vox in his speech, in which he promised "political and economic stability"and was widely applauded by the assembled Catalan businessmen.