Politics 21/04/2022

Independence movement and Unidas Podemos demand action over Catalangate

Catalan president says continued support of ERC for Spanish government at stake

3 min
Pere Aragonès met with the deputies affected by Pegasus espionage

MadridCatalan president Pere Aragonès travelled to Madrid today to put further pressure to the Moncloa to assume responsibilities over the Catalangate scandal. The president of the Generalitat met with the pro-independence members of the Spanish parliament who were the object of espionage, but also with Unidas Podemos leaders, as he questioned whether the Spanish government would continue receiving the support of nationalist parties. "A minimum of trust must be preserved. At the moment there is zero trust. If there has been spying, there can be no trust," Aragonès said in statements to the media after the meeting. In fact, the Catalan president avoided guaranteeing ERC’s support for the decree of economic measures against the economic crisis. "If you want your partner to continue supporting you, you have to make decisions, be very clear and go all the way," Aragonès warned. Depending on the "decisions" taken by the Spanish executive, the Generalitat will take its own, he concluded.

Aragonès sat alongside Míriam Nogueras (Junts), Ferran Bel (PDECat), Mireia Vehí and Albert Botran (CUP) and Gorka Elejabarrieta and Mertxe Aizpurua (EH Bildu). He also spoke by phone with PNV spokesman Aitor Esteban, who conveyed his full support. Also present were the Catalan government delegate in Madrid, Ester Capella, ERC MPs Gabriel Rufián and Montse Bassa, and Aragonès’s chief of staff, Sergi Sabrià. All the pro-independence groups agreed afterwards to demand "responsibilities" from the Spanish government and have agreed to carry out more joint actions to reach the end of the case. "They cannot go on forever, we cannot let time go by. We will not tolerate the government's solution to be the passage of time," warned Aragonès.

In this sense, he asked for clarity as to who and when gave the order to start spying on the over 60 pro-independence politicians, lawyers and activists. Aragonès himself assured this Wednesday that there was "evidence" that the National Intelligence Centre (CNI) was behind this espionage. The CUP, however, has gone even further and MP Mireia Vehí has assured that the Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, was also aware of it. According to Vehí, the regulations governing the functioning of the CNI establish that the body has to submit reports to the head of the executive with its activity.

Aragonès insisted that the "ball is in the State's court" and demanded "clear, concrete and immediate measures". For starters, a gesture, according to the president of the Generalitat, would be for the PSOE to agree to set up the inquiry demanded by all Catalan and Basque pro-independence groups in Parliament and the Senate, as well as by the minority partner of the Spanish government, Unidas Podemos. For Junts and the CUP, however, the Catalangate is serious enough to stop propping up the State government. "There is no confidence in a government and a state that violates the privacy of citizens," said Nogueras. And Vehí warned ERC that they cannot maintain "normality" at the dialogue table. PDECat spokesman in Parliament, Ferran Bel, warned that the relationship of its four MPs with the Spanish government will not be able to continue as it has until now if the government does not take responsibility, but has guaranteed, for example, its support for the decree against the crisis: "We are not stuck on ‘no’ to everything".

Unidas Podemos asks to maintain the dialogue

Since Catalangate broke out, Unidas Podemos has stood by all pro-independence leaders who were spied on, and it has demanded that its coalition partner give explanations. This Thursday, Unidas Podemos also showed their solidarity with Aragonès, who met party leaders. However, Unidas Podemos has asked Catalangate to be separated from the stability of the Spanish government. "The will to dialogue has to be above any hidden plan of the State's sewers," Asens stated. Unidas Podemos asked for transparency and, if necessary, for dismissals or resignations. But Asens also pointed the finger at the PP as responsible for having initiated this espionage, and demanded more details on when it started and when it ended.

"We have not had a feeling that the stability of the government was at risk," Asens added, who admitted that ERC had warned them that relations with the executive were "damaged". Before Aragonès arrived in Madrid, the Spanish government spokeswoman, Isabel Rodríguez, asked the Generalitat "not to trivialise" with the stability of the Spanish government. In order to try to recover the "trust" that Aragonès is demanding, the minister has also offered to "increase actions" in favour of dialogue with the Generalitat.