Politics 01/07/2021

Andreu Mas-Colell: "There is a difference between Sánchez and the Aznarism festering at State level".

3 min

BarcelonaAndreu Mas-Colell (Barcelona, 1944) talks to ARA minutes before the Court of Auditors confirms €5.4m bail for some thirty former Generalitat senior officials over its foreign action between the years 2011 and 2017. Now they have 15 days to deposit it with the court.

Do you have the money for the bail ready?

— Obviously I do not have the bail ready. There are three weeks left and many things can happen. I can't say that the decision was a surprise, I was psychologically prepared.

In the last 24 hours have you heard anything else that has caught your attention?

— The process is a bit exotic. Lawyers are given a five-hundred page report, told they have three hours to prepare a 10-minute speech, and they're told it's not going to make any difference. The lack of due process in this case is just mind-boggling. It is a totally extrajudicial body. All those involved have been given penalties and the money will have to be deposited, and there hasn't been a judge in sight. It's not that I have great faith in the judges in the judicial system, but at the very least they could care more about what other European judges say.

Do you trust that the Generalitat can act as guarantor?

— I don't want to be so specific or express confidence or non-confidence. I think that the agreement between the central government and the government of the Generalitat, which is being built, albeit slowly and painfully, has to try to neutralise the consequences of Aznarist state structures' autonomous action. What do pardons do? They neutralise the consequences. In our case, I believe that this agreement between the central government and the Generalitat should seek to follow a similar strategy, I don't know exactly what the formula should be, but I believe it is the way forward because either these people are shown that their teeth don't bite much or they will bite harder.

The other day a high-level attendee at the Mobile World Congress dinner was telling me that a couple of ministers were telling him how uncomfortable the Spanish government was with the letter signed by more than thirty economists in support of you, Professor.

— Well, first of all I would like to thank the 33 for their support. For me it counts a lot. The purpose of this support was not to expose the Spanish government but to expose a situation in Spain. I am one of those who think that there is an important difference between the Aznarism festering in the State and the current Spanish government

What is hard to understand is that now they're making you pay for this yet you weren't even accused in the case against the November 9, 2014 vote.

— Yes. Anyway, don't ask me to explain it. What I do note is that this denotes a curious concept of the case. What happened in 2017 [the referendum] happens to influence what happened in 2014

Are you more convinced than ever about your decision to return to Catalonia?

— For me, returning to Catalonia has been very satisfying. Now it has this consequence but, what can I say, there are people who are in a worse situation. I can't say that I'm happy about it, but these people won't destroy my morale either.

It is curious that you were arrested when you were young during Franco's regime and at 77 years of age you are facing this claim.

— This is the second special tribunal I've been through. The first one tried me in one of the first trials of the Court of Public Order, a special jurisdiction, and now I have gone through this Court of Auditors, another special jurisdiction. I'll just mention that.

You have written about game theory. How do you negotiate when one says I want self-determination and the other says you will not have self-determination?

— One thing we would have to learn is to be clear in each case about what is being negotiated, and to negotiate about things that are possible at each point in time. If the main thing is to achieve self-determination by means of an agreement, this has to be said, but we must not fall into the trap of thinking that we can only negotiate about the maximum demand. Part of the history of this negotiation is to create complicities with the Sánchez government so that the cycle in which Aznarism remains outside the Spanish government lasts a long time.

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