President Sánchez, a key week has just ended in this unpredictable legislature: the week in which he pardoned the prison sentences for the independentists who, in 2017, led the approval of the disconnection laws, the illegal referendum and the unilateral declaration of independence. In Moncloa they celebrate the support of businessmen, unions, bishops and international media, and believe that social and political rejection of the measure will decline over time, but they do not hide that it is only a “first step” to “normalize” the situation. The Government believes that the “reunion agenda” passes, in the medium term, for a bilateral negotiation table of uncertain outcome, while the immediate political calendar predicts hectic days for the executive leader: this week he will receive Aragonès and will face the opposition in Congress.
The pardons have also had a derivative in the lower house: have tied Sánchez to the majority of the investiture. After the failure of the motion in Murcia, which sought to give air to Citizens but ended up causing the socialist bump in the Madrid elections, the president had seen his options to play variable geometry with the Arrimadas seats reduced. And with the pardons all the bridges have been burned: the leader of the orange party has appealed the measure of grace before the Supreme Court, Vox has done the same and warns of another possible motion of censure – they lost one in autumn 2020 and threatened a second, which they did not present, at the end of that year–, and the PP calls for the resignation of Sánchez and elections with plebiscite dyes so that the citizens can vote with attention focused on forgiving the leaders of the procés.
Faced with these harsh criticisms, regular coalition partners call on the president to speed up the social agenda. This Tuesday the trans law will arrive at the Council of Ministers, where Irene Montero’s theses have been imposed over those of Carmen Calvo after months of intense debates between Equality and the Vice Presidency, but many issues remain – labor reform, housing law, repeal of the gag law …– that strain Sánchez’s relationship with United We Can and of the whole of the Government with the parliamentary majority that supports it. “It is time for politics (…) and to concentrate all our forces on improving the lives of our people,” said the president on Wednesday, who these days will negotiate face to face with Vice President Díaz another delicate matter: the amount of the interprofessional minimum wage, frozen since January.
Three appointments: Court of Accounts, Moncloa, Congress
With this political scenario in the background, the start of the week in a Catalan key will have three clear scenarios. The first, the Court of Accounts. There they are summoned, this Tuesday, the ex-presidents Artur Mas and Carles Puigdemont, the leader of ERC, Oriol Junqueras, the exconsellers Homs, Munté, Turull and up to thirty independence charges. The supervisory body will communicate to each of them the amount that it considers they diverted to the so-called Catalan embassies and Diplocat, and will impose a provisional bond on them. José Luis Ábalos seemed to open the door on Friday for the Executive to intervene – “these causes are still stones on the road and it is up to us to uncover the path within the legality– and the opposition attacked the minister for what it considered an attack on the independence of the institution.
Hours later, the focus will shift from the Court of Accounts – where the pro-independence leaders are not obliged to appear, but can send their lawyers – to La Moncloa, where Sánchez will receive Aragonès at 5:00 p.m.. A meeting that, in the words of the president, appears complex: “There is much to talk, much to discuss, many differences to resolve,” he summarized on Friday, when he called on the Government to build “concord” and recalled that “the constitutional pact” it is an insurmountable “limit”. Thus, Sánchez will focus on issues that “conform to legality” and that deal with matters such as investments, financing and of a more symbolic nature, in line with the “reunion agenda”, a 44-point document that compiles “claims” from successive presidents and that he already offered Torra in February 2020.
On Wednesday, finally, the focus will be on Congress, where the president will have to justify the pardons to the opposition. Sánchez avoided going to the Chamber before approving themBut now you will have to be held accountable both for this matter and for the last European Council. The debate will be harsh, but it will not include the usual face-to-face between the executive leader and the opposition after vetoing PSOE and United We Can a petition from the opposition, and will put an end to the plenary session until after the summer.
No date or clear proposals for the negotiating table
What has no date, on the other hand, is the bilateral table between the central government and the Catalan government. La Moncloa does not give clues for now and the public statements seem to indicate that Sánchez is not in too much of a hurry. “As summer approaches, it is more difficult to find gaps,” said Government spokeswoman María Jesús Montero on Thursday, who hinted that in no case will it be before Sánchez meets Ayuso on July 9, “with what which is a shorter period of time remaining “before the holidays. The Catalan side seems to be in a bit of a hurry, since on Friday Aragonès said that on Tuesday, at Moncloa, he will urge the president to begin to specify the “methodology and calendar” of that forum.
The president He also advanced that their objectives are amnesty and self-determination, while in Moncloa they insist in which “now it is up to the independence movement” to make “gestures” and assume that a way out must be found within the “clear limits” established by the Constitution. Thus, it seems difficult to find an intermediate point, and in the central government they admit that “there is no concrete proposal”, for now, to raise at that bilateral table, only the desire to be able to forge in the medium term a “transversal” agreement that overcomes the bar between independentistas and non-independentistas and create a broad consensus in Catalan society. The content of that agreement, to this day, is unknown. “For now we are going to listen,” they say in the Executive.