Politics 28/04/2021

ERC and JxCat give air to the negotiation with the Lledoners prison meeting

Both parties value the meeting "positively" in spite of the fact that still they cannot offer agreements

3 min
The vice-president of the Government, Pere Aragonès, arriving at Almeces.

BarcelonaERC and JxCat arrived at the meeting this Tuesday in Lledoners to try to uncork the investiture knowing that it was not the definitive one. Given this fact, the summit had to become, above all, a thermometer of the state of the talks. Once held, the main conclusion is that the negotiation breathes after two months without much progress and a dynamic of latent criticism between both parties. There are no agreements yet, it is true, but at least the two partners have made an effort to try to convey that there has been a good atmosphere. All this can be deduced from the small details of Tuesday's contact.

The first is that it has been one of the longest meetings between the two actors. Almost four hours between the walls of the penitentiary centre located in Bages. The second is that for the first time in weeks they have been able to write a joint statement in which, despite not exposing any tangible result, they have valued "the meeting positively". The meeting has primarily addressed the structure of the Government, ie, the organization of the Departments and the distribution of power of the next Generalitat, but the rest of the negotiation folders have also been touched upon. Both parties guarantee that they have "agreed to continue working" to create a government "led by Pere Aragonès" that responds to the fact that the pro-independence movement managed to overcome the barrier of 50% of the votes in the last elections.

Another point of symmetry between the two protagonists has been found in the negotiators. Two inside the prison, one on each side. The president of ERC, Oriol Junqueras, and the secretary general of JxCat, Jordi Sànchez. The rest have come from outside. The ERC team was completed with the vice president of the Government, Pere Aragonès, and the leader in Parliament, Josep Maria Jové, while that of JxCat has been formed by the vice presidents of the party Elsa Artadi and Josep Rius. At the entrance of the prison, the two delegations have been received by the director general of prison services, Amand Calderó. The two parties on Monday had tried to lower the importance of the meeting - "one more meeting", they had said - but all the signs have ended up turning the meeting into the most important since two and a half months ago the elections were held.

The vice president of JxCat Josep Rius and Elsa Artadi.

This is the first meeting in which the negotiators have thoroughly addressed the structure of the Government. Until now Aragonès had only verbalised the will to create three new Departments -Climate Action, Feminisms and Universities and Research - and create a commissioner on European funds that depends directly on the president, while Junts had demanded a proposal for a "global" structure of the executive. This has taken place on Tuesday and although at first it was suggested that the number of departments would remain at thirteen, what Esquerra has put on the table is the possibility of increasing them to fourteen. In this way the two parties would have seven Departments.

Junts' starting point in this negotiation is that all the pieces should be reversed from the outset and, from here, the exchange of stickers should begin. A thesis that the Republicans do not accept, because this implies ceding the management of almost 80% of the budget that they currently have - ERC occupies the ministries of Education, Health and Social Affairs, which have the most resources - to the Puigdemont party. Esquerra, therefore, hopes that Junts will give in on some of them. But it won't be easy: in the election campaign it opted for the area of health with Dr. Josep Maria Argimon at the helm, and it also wants to set an ideological profile with educational policies. They have defended educational concerts as part of the Catalan school model, while Esquerra has signed an agreement with the CUP to phase them out.

The demand of the CUP

The CUP is the third protagonist in discord to unravel the investiture. Their current mood, however, is very different from that of JxCat and ERC. The anti-capitalists already signed an agreement with the Republicans weeks ago and do not plan, in the short term, to become part of the Government. Therefore, right now they wait and watch, a very different situation from previous investitures, when all the spotlights pointed towards them. Despite looking at it all with relative distance, this Tuesday they have also tried to push for an agreement between the other two pro-independence parties. CUP deputy Xavier Pellicer has called on ERC and JxCat to reach an agreement for the investiture and to prioritise the urgent needs of the country ahead of the "distribution of chairs and structures".

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