The Government is now concentrating on achieving progress at the dialogue table with Catalonia | Catalonia

The image of the independence leaders condemned by the process getting out of prison is just a point and a row. Suturing the wounds of the political conflict in Catalonia will require high doses of negotiation that the Government is willing to face immediately while admitting that it has no guarantees of success. In the same way, he defends that he has no alternative but to try. For this reason, the Executive of Pedro Sánchez has already set the next step, seeking a date for his first official meeting with the President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, and a subsequent meeting of the dialogue table on Catalonia. Despite the insistence of the independence movement in addressing issues in these forums such as a self-determination referendum or the amnesty of all those convicted and prosecuted for the independence clash, the Government makes it clear that there will be no assignments in this area. Of course, he assures that there are “many meters” to travel within the constitutional framework, in the words of the spokesman minister, María Jesús Montero.

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At his Barcelona conference last Monday, Sánchez made it clear to the audience that pardons are a “first step.” He did not specify what the next ones will be. In an article published today by EL PAÍS, the president points out: “The Government now wants to resume dialogue as soon as possible and maintain it until agreements are reached. We have proposals to make. There is an Agenda for the Reunion that contains all the demands made by the Generalitat in the last decade and that can serve as a starting point ”.

Both sources from the Central Executive and the Generalitat agree that now is the interview between Sánchez and Aragonès, which could take place as early as next week. The minister spokesman spoke on Tuesday of “days.” The spokesperson for the Generalitat, Patrícia Plaja, extended it to “days or a few weeks.” But in any case everyone assumes that the meeting is imminent. Before that, the Catalan president will star in a new symbolic photograph next Sunday, sharing a table and tablecloth with King Felipe VI at the opening dinner of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

But it is one thing to close agendas and another to fill the meetings with content. And the immobility on the part of the Generalitat, which insists on circumscribing the dialogue to matters beyond the reach of the Government, such as self-determination or amnesty, threatens to wreck any attempt. The central Executive tried on Tuesday to open the framework of the negotiation. Minister Montero insisted that there is “room for understanding.” And he listed specific lines to work on. “The reform of the autonomous financing model is pending, for example. There are many things that can be done. The first thing is that this dialogue table meets. There is an agenda for the reunion, which is a good starting point. We all have to express our limits there, but our will is not to stifle the dialogue before it begins. The approaches that are outside the legal framework will be immobile. There is scope and way to go. This is what we offer ”.

Agenda for the Reunion

The base document for the negotiation that the Government intends to put on the table is the so-called Agenda for the Reunion. It is a four-page document that Sánchez delivered in February 2020 to the then Catalan president, Quim Torra. Little or no progress has been made since then. It includes 44 measures for day-to-day governance that the Generalitat has been claiming for a long time. In addition to the improvement of the financing system, there are aspects such as the de-judicialization of political life, unblocking the transfers of powers provided for in the current autonomy statute or an increase in investment in railways, all of them very sensitive aspects in Catalonia.

It remains to be seen how the other party receives these offers. The Generalitat insists that, although it aspires to achieve the advances proposed by the Government, this should not be addressed at the dialogue table, but in existing forums such as the State-Generalitat Bilateral Commission. And they want the dialogue table to focus more on the flag issues for the independence movement. The words of Aragonès, on Tuesday, do not presage an easy landing: “It is time for amnesty and the right to self-determination. It is time for an agreed referendum. It is time for the solution that generates more internal consensus, that ensures international endorsement and that guarantees an inalienable social cohesion ”, he proclaimed after hearing the confirmation of the pardons. The only thing that contributed a sign of relaxation is when it comes to assessing the measure of grace. According to Aragonès, this pardon from the Government does help to give “credibility” to the dialogue process.