Truce between King and Generalitat for Mobile World Congress

Sánchez prescribes "unity" from Barcelona "to get the country back on its feet"

2 min
MWC Inauguration Soup

BarcelonaThe inaugural dinner of the Mobile World Congress (MWC), which was held at the Fira de Barcelona, was the first event at which the King, the President of the Spanish Government and the President of the Generalitat were all present since Pedro Sánchez and Pere Aragonès started trying to open a new fruitful stage of dialogue between governments. All eyes were once again on the relations between the monarch and the Government, deteriorated since the speech Felipe VI made on October 3, 2017. This time the two parties opted for a truce: speeches focused on praising MWC and the potential of Barcelona and Catalonia, and no allusion to the political conflict. The only one who followed a different script was the Spanish president, who prescribed "unity of action" between all the institutions as a "fertile path to get the country back on its feet".

Once again, then, the focus was on how the Generalitat would react to the king's presence. Aragonès has repeated the same scheme as 10 days ago at the Cercle d'Economia conferences. He did not queue up with others to greet the monarch, but greeted him briefly afterwards. He also met Sánchez, whom he reminded of their appointment on Tuesday in Madrid. There was been a substantial difference, however, with respect to ten days ago. This time Aragonès stayed for dinner and had to share the presidential table with Felipe VI, the Spanish president and the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau. In the section of the speeches, the Catalan president made a speech entirely in English focusing on the congress. He vindicated Catalonia's talent in the telecommunications sector and called for technology to be used to combat "inequalities". The only political singularity that could be highlighted is that, at the time of protocolary greetings from the lectern, he avoided mentioning the monarch and spoke generically of the institutions of the State.

Words in Catalan

Nor did the king want to go beyond the economic speech. His biggest concession were a few words in Catalan to praise his "esteemed" Barcelona, that together with Catalonia he considered an "example" of "flexibility and vision of the future". Who did opt for a political speech was Sánchez, happy to have the King, the President of the Generalitat, the Mayor of Barcelona and himself sitting at the same table. "We symbolise the union for the greater good of all," he proclaimed. And this greater good, he said, is the economic recovery, which he was convinced Spain will continue in the post-pandemic period. Colau took advantage of her turn to speak to demand that Barcelona's "uniqueness" be recognised in the distribution of the Next Generation European funds.

Aragonès was not the only Generalitat representative. Vice-president Jordi Puigneró and minister for business enterprise Roger Torrent were also present. When the official greeting of the king took place, all three moved away from the centre of the room and stood behind a column. Afterwards, everyone went towards the hall. The MWC has begun and, for now, only Sánchez has taken advantage of it for political purposes. If it was a warning to Aragonés, Tuesday they will have the opportunity to talk face to face