Vox announces a complaint against Aragonès for embezzlement

Catalan president claims fund to respond to Court of Auditors adheres to legality

4 min

BarcelonaThe Court of Auditors continues to be the main protagonist of Catalan politics. This Wednesday, a day after the Government approved a fund to deal with the millionaire bails over its Foreign Action, Vox has announced it will appeal against the new law. "Its only goal is to finance the judicial causes of the independentistas. We will not stand still or silent, we will appeal the decree law and we will present a complaint for embezzlement," has reaffirmed the leader of Vox, Ignacio Garriga, who has directly threatened Aragonès: "Your time will soon be up". In fact, Garriga has even said the Catalan Government would end up "in prison". Ciudadanos and PP have also threatened with court action, but have not given more details, although the leader of Ciudadanos, Carlos Carrizosa, has explained that they have already asked the Spanish government to intervene the Generalitat's accounts. The unionist entity Convivencia Cívica - one of the first to appeal pardons - has also asked the Ombudsman to file an appeal for unconstitutionality.

Aragonès has replied to Vox defending the decision to create a risk fund for public workers and assuring that it adheres to legality. In fact, to exemplify the normality of the measure, he has defended that other administrations, such as the Junta de Andalucía, also have insurance policies contracted to cover accounting responsibility of their senior officials. In addition, he wanted to emphasise that it is not a direct payment of the Government but a counter-guarantee to obtain a bank guarantee, which is what would be presented at the Court of Auditors

Now, in spite of setting up the risk fund - which will act as a kind of public insurer - Aragonès has admitted that it will not be a final solution. Instead, it will give the government time to find a political answer to repression as a whole. In fact, he has asked for donations to the Solidarity Fund in case the risk fund is deemed illegal by the courts. Nevertheless, Aragonès has defended the dialogue table as a way to achieve the amnesty and to put an end to all the causes that affect the independence movement, including the Court of Auditors.

"Recovering freedom"

The debate in the Parliament also had questions from Ciudadanos and the PP for the Minister of Economy, Jaume Giró, and the Minister of the Presidency, Laura Vilagrà, protesting against the risk fund set up by the Government to pay bails in the Court of Auditors case. "It is a mechanism to cover sanctions," Giró defended in the plenary session. But beyond this it is also an instrument to re-establish the space of freedom to be able to do political action in Catalonia without the fear that they will come and seize your house". "That is recovering freedom", he concluded.

Giró: "It is an instrument to re-establish the space of freedom to carry out political action in Catalonia".

After the control session, the president has made an appearance before the plenary to defend the dejuridification and a solution to the conflict that includes a referendum on independence. In the opinion of Aragonès, the consultation is the most "inclusive" formula to resolve the situation, since it is accepted by a majority of citizens, he argued. To prove it to the Spanish government, before convening the dialogue table in September, he announced that he will launch an Agreement for Amnesty and Self-Determination alongside JxCat and CUP, as a "political tool" to make the goals of the independence movement "inevitable".

Aragonès has defended recovering the "spirit" of the National Pact for the Right to Decide - promoted by the government of Artur Mas in 2012 - and the National Pact for the Referendum - promoted by the executive of Carles Puigdemont before the 2017 vote - with the incorporation of the sovereigntist parties and the social and economic agents that are in favour of dialogue. Aragonès' challenge is to include all those who, although not pro-independence, are in favour of a referendum. "We have to allow everyone to defend their position in an agreed and recognised procedure," Aragonès said about the independence referendum. "We will not give up," warned the president, despite the fact that the Spanish government has already rejected the proposal. That is why this will be the Generalitat's "most difficult negotiation" in Catalonia's contemporary history, the president concluded.

At this point, the head of the opposition and leader of the PSC in the Parliament, Salvador Illa, said he was "disappointed" by the "immbolist positions" that, he said, Aragonès presented and has again asked him to call a meeting of all Catalan parties. The leader of En Comú, Jéssica Albiach, did not appreciate the tone, who accused him of "putting on a show" and valuing that Catalonia is experiencing "new times" of dialogue. Albiach has defended the dialogue table to approach, among other things, a reform of the crime of sedition that would allow the return of exiles after the pardons, but has shown her misgivings about the Agreement for the Amnesty and the Self-determination: "It looks more like a body of pro-independence coordination".

Aragonès's speech has not convinced the CUP either. "The Agreement for Amnesty and Self-determination not only should exert pressure on the dialogue table, but it should also be the tool that works as an alternative when the State refuses to hold the the referendum", CUP MP Eulàlia Reguant warned, adding that self-determination is not "interchangeable" with a new Statute of Autonomy. "There will be a need for disobedience and anti-establishment movements", she thundered. Aragonès has admitted that the pact "does not have to be limited" to reaching a position to defend at the dialogue table with the State, but he said it should have maximum support.

Budgets and multilateralism

On the other hand, the president of the parliamentary group of JxCat, Albert Batet, has asked president Aragonès for a joint strategy to confront the negotiation of the budgets of the State. "We must take these decisions from a pro-independence consensus and with a shared outlook", argued Batet, who defends an institutional coordination in all parliamentary chambers. The president has replied to Batet that, in his opinion, the resolution of the conflict at the dialogue table and negotiation of the state budget must be kept separate. He was also open to talk to JxCat on the latter issue. In Aragonès's opinion, the resolution of the conflict has to be compatible with demanding investments from the State and negotiating budgets to obtain more money for Catalonia. "It is good to work on shared proposals", specified the head of the executive.

However, despite the willingness to negotiate with the State, Aragonès has ruled out participating in the conference of regional presidents scheduled soon in Salamanca to address European funds. He has reiterated it in response to a question from the leader of PSC, Salvador Illa, who has demanded that he also participate in the multilateral organisations within the State. "The policy of the empty seat has never given good results anywhere," warned Illa