The presidents of Spain, Pedro Sanchez, and of Catalonia, Pere Aragonés, resumed this Wednesday the conversations about Catalan autonomy, after a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, at a meeting that is marked by divisions among separatists.
The independentistas arrive at the meeting in Barcelona with two key demands that the Spanish Government, which has already anticipated that it does not contemplate accepting: permission to hold an independence referendum, which would require modifying the Constitution, and a request for amnesty for those indicted for participating in the 2017 secessionist challenge, Telam reported.
This unilateral attempt at separation by means of a referendum was truncated after Madrid the autonomy of Catalonia intervened and persecuted its leaders, some of whom went into exile or were arrested, including the then regional president, Carles Puigdemont.
The formation Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC)On the other hand, a key partner of Sánchez’s coalition in the Spanish Congress, he is committed to a more flexible strategy in search of obtaining economic advantages for the region while pressing for independence. Madrid maintains that any vote on the future of Catalonia should be based on a proposal to improve the region’s relationship with the rest of the country.
Sánchez marked the ground when he asked the independentistas not to focus the appointment on the self-determination referendum because that is unacceptable for the Government and would only lead to frustration. “Let’s start with the issues in which we can understand each other,” claimed the Spanish leader. The referendum is not only outside the Constitution, it is not what Catalonia needs at this time, more fractures, “said Sánchez
“In addition, whatever (regarding) Spain we have to decide among all Spaniards,” warned the president. In addition, he pointed out that “out of 45 points” that the independence movement has always claimed “44 have an affirmative answer, and only one negative, which is the referendum. Let us bet on advancing in the things in which we can find ourselves closer », he insisted.
To add tension to the negotiation, this week Madrid announced that it was suspending a millionaire investment in the Barcelona airport, one of the first results of ERC’s collaboration with the socialists, along with the pardon to the separatists in 2017.
Aragonés said it was “blackmail” but maintained his loyalty to Madrid and excluded from the negotiation the members of JuntsXCat who are not part of the regional government, a move with which he avoided challenging Sánchez but opened a front for him with Puigdemont. Expectations of success are low, so nothing more is expected from the meeting than an agreement on the methodology of subsequent meetings.