Politics 13/01/2022

Spanish government asks Aragonès to "look away from 2017"

Catalan president gives himself until the next Spanish elections to reach an agreement at the dialogue table

2 min
The Minister Spokeswoman, Isabel Rodríguez, during the intervention of President Aragonès

MadridPere Aragonès has not found the answer he was looking for from the Spanish government. The minister spokeswoman, Isabel Rodríguez, has asked him to "look away from a 2017 that was so painful for Catalonia" and has not put forward any proposals for the dialogue table Aragonès demanded this Wednesday at a conference in Madrid. The head of Territorial Policy attributes Aragonès's words to a "partisan strategy" and has postponed the next meeting between governments until the sixth wave of the pandemic is overcome, the same position Spanish president Pedro Sánchez defended in recent weeks.

Rodríguez, who listened to the head of the Catalan executive from the front row, noted that the pro-independence leader "has not renounced his proposals", but warned of the limits of the Constitution. Far from coming up with counter-proposals, Rodríguez celebrated the recovery of institutional relations between the State and the Generalitat and stressed that Aragonès participated in the last Conference of Autonomous Presidents. On the negotiating table, Rodríguez defended working on topics where "progress can be made" and recalled that in September it was agreed to work "without deadlines and without haste".

ERC agrees with this premise and Aragonès has given himself until the next Spanish elections –roughly two years– to achieve some kind of understanding. "There is until the end of the period, until the general elections, to explore the possibility of a negotiation that leads to an agreement on the political future of Catalonia", he affirmed in an interview with TVE. The head of the Catalan government thus recovers the time limit already set with the CUP in the investiture agreement. After ERC broke with CUP over the budgets, however, the CUP is giving no more leeway.

Aragonès, in any case, puts pressure on the Spanish government, warning that pardons and sectorial issues are not the way to resolve the conflict. And from the pro-independence camp, he can feel the pressure from Junts and the CUP, sceptical of the negotiations. The secretary general of JxCat, Jordi Sànchez, has described the dialogue table as a "slow track" and believes that the conditions are not in place for it to "culminate favourably". In an interview with Catalunya Ràdio, however, Sànchez said he was "absolutely coincident" with the conference that Aragonès pronounced this Wednesday in the Spanish capital. Especially when it came to asking the Spanish president "not to speculate with the timing" of the negotiating table. Sànchez pointed out in this sense that Moncloa is trying to "wear it down" and "uses the appearance of a solution to gain time".

Dinner with Yolanda Díaz

Aragonès took advantage of his stay in Madrid to meet with the second vice-president of the Spanish government and leader of Unidas Podemos, Yolanda Díaz. At a dinner this Wednesday they commented on the "general political context", as explained by the Aragonès, including the negotiating table and the negotiation of the labour reform. Aragonès has warned that his party is "far" from supporting the project of the Minister of Labour. "Our approach, and also that of the PSOE and Podemos, was to repeal the PP's labour reform, and this changes some aspects but does not repeal it. We are very far from the agreement between the Spanish government, unions and businesses", he said, and added that, despite the meeting point with unions and employers, it is "MPs that vote, and this has to be taken into account".