Catalonia and a time of practical independence

Catalonia and a time of practical independence

This is an excerpt from the newspaper Metternich edited by Alberto Simoni, the foreign editor of La Stampa. Every Wednesday analysis, reading advice, reportage, characters. to be able to get it every week you can register here

Catalonia has a new president and a new regional government (Generalitat). The mild-mannered Pere Aragones – 38 years old, a bachelor of law – leads a bipartisan cabinet composed of “consulars” (ministers) by his training, Esquera Repubblica de Catalunya (pro-independence and social-democratic) and juntas per Catalunya. (centre-right pro-independence pro-independence)). In the February 14 elections, the two armies were almost tied (35,000 votes and a seat difference), but Aragonese overtook its rival Laura Boras, who became Speaker of the Catalan Parliament. It is the first time since the Second Spanish Republic (1931–1939) that a post-election exponent of Esquera has reached the presidency of the Generalitat. The last was Louis Company, which was captured by the Gestapo in France and shot down in 1940 by order of General Franco. This circumstance gives the Aragonese Presidency a high symbolic value.

This government was born after several weeks of complicated and exhausting negotiations between the two partners. The Juntas for Catalunya (led by former President Carles Puigdemont from his exile in Waterloo) and Esquera (led by Oriol Junqueras from prison) have been slow to reach an agreement as they deeply disagree on the strategy that the independence movement would have. have to follow.
The Junts believe that the objectives can only be achieved through a conflict with Madrid, while the latter are betting on a possible turning point in the style of Scottish independence, in order to expand social support for the cause. To be. It should be remembered that Esquera, the independence party with the largest number of deputies in the Spanish parliament, is part of the majority that guarantees the stability of the national government governed by the coalition of Pse and Podemos.
Despite these fundamental differences, Eskera and Junts remain committed to governing (they also have votes from the CUP, a small far-left independence group), prioritizing the fight against the economic and social crisis posed by Covid. , but without forgetting the target of an agreed referendum, such as the one London provided to Scotland in 2014.
On the other hand, Aragonese – a moderate – must urgently restore the institution’s prestige, battered in a previous phase, when President Torah (Puegdemont’s replacement) sought a symbolic confrontation with the state and was overruled by the court.

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In theory, Catalonia is now entering a new phase that should be that of political normalization, in order to redirect the Catalan conflict on the path of negotiations. For this to be possible, it is necessary that Madrid make a gesture that would allow the de-escalation of tensions and strengthen the practical separatists of Escara.
This gesture may simply be a pardon to the nine independence leaders who are serving prison sentences for the events of October 2017. It could come this summer and – even if the authority will use it to create a media storm – Sanchez and his ministers are determined to follow that path.
To talk in depth about the Catalan conflict, separatists and President Sánchez have decided to promote a dialogue table that, after its creation, was frozen not only because of the health crisis. The table should begin, but socialists have insisted that a self-determination referendum has no place in the legal framework.

This being the case, it therefore seems to be a common sense view that the Spanish government should present alternative and intermediate solutions that would allow the situation to be unblocked. PSOE fears it will have to make concessions to Catalonia at the time of the vote.
The Catalan independence movement is torn between its promises of maximalism, its internal weaknesses, and the reality of a Spanish power that tends toward centrality and homogeneity. This is true, but since Spain cannot rule with Catalonia in a state of permanent turmoil, it is necessary to seek a new approach. We’ll see if Pere Aragonès and Pedro Sanchez have the courage and imagination that are needed at the moment.

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Francesc-Marc lvaro, journalist and political analyst, is a columnist for the newspaper La Vanguardia and author of the essay Ensio General de Una Revuelta. Translation Carla Reschia. done by


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