Politics 13/09/2021

JxCat urges Aragonès not to attend negotiating table unless Sánchez takes part

ERC maintains that it will send its top delegates

4 min
The spokeswoman of JxCat, Elsa Artadi, in press conference the week that has to meet the dialogue table

BarcelonaThe negotiating table is to meet this week, but there is still uncertainty around the exact date and whether the Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, will take part. Together for Catalonia (JxCat), believes this is an act of "contempt" towards the Generalitat and Catalan society which "demands an answer". "It shows the little conviction he himself has" when addressing the political conflict, said party spokeswoman Elsa Artadi, who has demanded retaliations from the Catalan government. Out of "institutional dignity", if Pedro Sánchez does not attend the summit, the president, Pere Aragonès, should not attend either.

Artadi believes it would be a way for the Catalan delegation to put its foot down on Pedro Sánchez's "games", recalling that the time the negotiating table met in February 2020 he did attend. Artadi said she does not understand why, if he met then Catalan President Quim Torra, hew does not want to clarify whether he will meet Pere Aragonès now. The Junts spokeswoman has warned that the pardons are not enough and that the Socialist-Podemos coalition government has to sit down to talk about the "political conflict", whose solution, she reiterated, requires "amnesty and self-determination".

In any case, Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) has not picked up JxCat's gauntlet and has made it clear that President Pere Aragonès will attend the meeting whether or not Pedro Sánchez is there. "We do not want it to be a tennis match with counterstatements, at the first meeting we all went together and now it is also necessary that it also be at the highest level," said Republican spokeswoman Marta Vilalta, implying that the head of the executive will not be absent from the summit. In this sense, the Republicans believe that JxCat's misgivings at the negotiating table do nothing but encourage the Spanish president to have more doubts when it comes to taking part because the negotiating body is distorted.

The spokeswoman and deputy secretary general of ERC, Marta Vilalta, on Monday at a press conference

ERC has asked that Catalonia unites around the negotiation with the Spanish government. "Division weakens us and we will not contribute to it; we must unite because the negotiating table is an opportunity and that is what we agreed on in the investiture agreements," she said, in reference to JxCat and also to the CUP, which has called a demonstration on the day the meeting is held. For this reason, she called on "the independence movement to not waste the path of negotiation" after the massive demonstration on Catalonia Day, which he considered to be "a collective success that shows that there is a political conflict".

From JxCat, Artadi has replied that they are in favour of the concept of dialogue and negotiation, but that the current instrument of the dialogue table has "structural" errors. "The responsibility for it working is the Socialists' and ERC's, as it was they who agreed on the terms," said the spokeswoman, recalling that they demanded a mediator, and posing as guarantors of public "transparency". The party has expressed its "scepticism" towards the fruits that the negotiation will bear -Artadi has said that independence without unilateralism is a "chimera"-, but has denied that these statements weaken it: the spokeswoman has explained that their doubts about this tool are already present in Aragonès's investiture agreement, but that they will also be "loyal" to the table and will not stay away, thus ruling out the possibility of not attending.

After the mobilisations on Catalonia Day, Artadi has reaffirmed the persistence of the political conflict and the will of the independence movement to continue with the process towards a Catalan state despite the current context. "We do not want the dialogue table to [be a cause for] demobilis[ation]," she warned. On the other hand, CUP has avoided entering the controversy between JxCat and ERC on President Aragonès's presence at the dialogue table if Pedro Sánchez stays away "Whether Sánchez turns up or not does not change anything; if this table is not to negotiate self-determination and amnesty, it is of little relevance," stressed the deputy of the anti-capitalists, Carles Riera. Likewise, he has explained that they have called for a protest on the day the negotiating table will meet despite giving ERC a two year margin to obtain results through this body, because "only through struggle and mobilisation" will the conditions "to force the state to negotiate" be created.

In fact, the CUP has remarked that the existence of the negotiating table "was not a reason not to facilitate [Aragonès's] investiture", in spite of making it clear that they do not believe in it and that they back "preparing a new onslaught with the State". Riera has urged ERC to work for unity with "self-determination and amnesty" as pillars to "generate the necessary conflict to force the State to accept a democratic resolution of the conflict" after concluding that "this dialogue table will not solve the conflict between Catalonia and Spain".

More doubts about the delegation

Pedro Sánchez's presence or absence will have a direct effect on the members that Junts sends to the Catalan delegation. Artadi has not revealed who will sit at the table on JxCat's side because it will be communicated when it becomes clear who will attend from the Spanish side. Thus, she has not clarified whether it would be the vice president, Jordi Puigneró, nor whether the delegation will be from the party or from the government. There is a possibility that it might be secretary general Jordi Sànchez or even Parliament Speaker Laura Borràs.