Aragonès warns businesses that Sánchez "is blowing up" dialogue with espionage

Catalan president calls on Spanish president to take urgent action "if he believes" in negotiation

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The President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, and the President of the Círculo, Javier Faus, on Wednesday.

BarcelonaThe annual meeting of the Cercle d'Economia is an economic forum which always becomes an indicator of the political atmosphere. If last year's edition had pardons for political prisoners at its centre, this year's inaugural conference has been dominated by political espionage. Catalan president Pere Aragonès warned the Catalan business community that Catalangate "is blowing up" the process of dialogue between the Generalitat and the State. Specifically, what is failing, according to him, is the way Spanish president Pedro Sánchez is handling the situation. "If he believes in dialogue, he must hold those responsible to account. It is absolutely necessary," he said

This is the second year Aragonès appeared in this forum in his capacity as president. To understand this edition's speech, it is necessary to rewind to a year ago. Then, just a few days after taking office, he promised businesspeople a "new stage" of dialogue with Spain. Implicitly, therefore, he offered to reduce confrontation. A year later, Aragonès has made a meagre balance of the strategy and blamed Sánchez. "Today I say with a little disappointment and concern that this commitment [to dialogue] is not being reciprocated by the state government," he lamented.

Aragonès and the Cercle share the commitment to dialogue, but differ in their goal: for the former it is a referendum, for the latter a better fit for Catalonia within Spain. But with today's appeal Aragonès seeks to get businessmen on his side, supporting a negotiation that never really got off the ground. He claimed his commitment to dialogue continues to be "absolute", but that he needs Sánchez to make a move and, in the first place, to do so by giving convincing explanations about the espionage scandal. According to Aragonès, what is needed is "to generate an essential turning point to rebuild minimum confidence with the State government". Although he did not mention this, this first step would be a face-to-face meeting with Sánchez to address the issue.