“Paying a guy you wouldn’t buy a second-hand car from in advance is a risky sport.” This is how the former president Carles Puigdemont referred, in July, to the candidate for re-election as head of the Government, Pedro Sánchez. The metaphor of the motor world reveals one of the great shortcomings of the uncertain negotiation process for the PSOE and Sumar to repeat in La Moncloa: without generating a framework of prior trust, the independentistas find it even more difficult to pass on to the rest.
Trust. In the environment of the former president, these days bunkered between the summer break and the calls for “maximum precaution”, they see for the moment the first real obstacle to seriously negotiate more on how than what. The return of Jordi Turull, number two of Junts, after a few days in Brazil will cause a certain air to flow, but it does not alter the script: Puigdemont under the spotlight and Sánchez, having the white chips, is the one who must move first. “Let it start by putting up a proposal, not by trying to limit what we aspire to,” reflects a voice close to the former president and who responds to the complaints of “maximalism” with which Minister Félix Bolaños referred to the demand for amnesty and the referendum.
Two news stories from last week were used by the rebel leader in Belgium to support his idea that, after all, there is no one to trust on the other side. On the one hand, the flower of a day that has been Sumar’s proposal for the use of co-official languages in Las Cortes and that quickly buried the PSOE. On the other, that attempts are made to pressure Catalan businessmen with investments announced years ago so that they decide whether to support Sánchez.
“The reform process is usually a strategy to waste time pretending that you are fixing a problem that you really don’t give a damn about,” Puigdemont said regarding how the Socialists, this legislature, have blocked Catalan in the Senate. And in their environment, where they live with constant criticism of how ERC has carried out the dialogue, they take the opportunity to recall the bombastic announcement of the last dialogue table, on July 27 of last year, so that Catalan could be used in the Eurocámara and for which not a single leaf has been turned.
The relationship between Sánchez and Puigdemont is not null. They even shared a sofa in March 2016. The socialist visited the Palau de la Generalitat, in the spirit of “thawing” and they had time to talk about the Constitution and the Statute and then the acting president made his red lines clear. In that meeting, the Catalan leader measured the oil to a socialist who later had to prove his worth to his own and support the application of article 155.
The Puente de Aragonès
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“I can speak for myself,” Sánchez replied, in November 2022, when asked if the founder of Junts was lying when he revealed that a government emissary had proposed “happy solutions” to end his flight. The Junts MEP put the issue back into the public debate a few days ago and, despite the respective denials, the phones continue to ring.
In ERC the movie sounds to them. Sánchez himself and President Pere Aragonès had to gradually build mutual credibility to guarantee compliance with the agreements that led to the last investiture. Both built a flimsy suspension bridge that the Pegasus spy scandal or the Republicans’ no to labor reform were about to wipe out. But, despite everything, it has allowed previously unthinkable milestones such as the granting of pardons or the reform of the Penal Code.
There are 10 days left for the constitution of the Cortes and there is no time for there to be reinforced concrete between Madrid and Waterloo. In the environment of the expresident, they deliberately remain silent when he wonders if a face-to-face meeting would solve something. And they insist on the two maxims: Puigdemont in the spotlight and Sánchez with the obligation to make a move.
Esquerra and “coffee for everyone”
Esquerra also believes that the price of yes in the investiture goes through an agreement on the political conflict but, unlike Junts, he does not rule out negotiating sectoral issues as well. The thorniest, financing. Its spokesperson, Marta Vilalta, insists that the Government and the Generalitat speak one on one, not to “eliminate solidarity” between territories, but with the aim of ending the “grievances” that, she assures, the Catalans endure.
“We already know that a multilateral negotiation, a coffee for all, will not work,” he said yesterday in an interview with Efe. Catalonia is the third community that contributes the most but it is the tenth in liquidation.
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