Back to square one in relations between the Government and the Generalitat. Two and a half years after the PSOE and the ERC agreed to activate a dialogue table for the resolution of the political conflict in Catalonia, which has met on a few occasions, the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, and the minister of that branch, Laura Vilagrà, have met in Moncloa to resume relations that were blocked by the scandal of espionage against independence leaders with Pegasus with a single principle of agreement: work on a new framework for the dialogue table.
“We have begun to work on an agreement that should serve as a framework for agreement and negotiation”, said Bolaños after the meeting with Vilagrà, which lasted for just over two hours. The objective is to establish some bases for the operation of the dialogue, which has been frozen since September, when the last meeting of the table between governments took place. A “methodology”, said the minister. Laying the foundations of the operation was one of the few understandings that were reached in the first meetings of the table, when Quim Torra was still the president of the Generalitat. So both parties concluded that this body should meet monthly and have the presence of the presidents every six.
None of this has been fulfilled and the relationship between Moncloa and the Generalitat has been plagued with ups and downs during this time. The most serious crisis has been the one that occurred due to the espionage on leaders of the independence movement through Pegasus and that in some cases had the CNI as responsible (among them the one from Aragonès). Bolaños himself has admitted that there is still a “discrepancy” on this matter, although he has not wanted to reveal what exactly the Generalitat is demanding, and has defended the “forceful” measures that the Government put in place to guarantee that the rights of the people and has mentioned the investigation within the CNI, the investigations of the Ombudsman or the intention to declassify documentation in case a judge requests it.
“What we have done have been quite forceful steps in the line of clarifying what happened, defending rights; but the councilor has told me that for them it has not been enough. That part has been left with a mutual explanation of what the positions are, ”said the socialist.
“At this time the negotiating table is not being unfrozen, it is intended that there be guarantees of institutional relations between the two governments”, Vilagrà declared at a press conference in Blanquerna, the headquarters of the Government in Madrid, where he has moved from Moncloa. “We cannot talk about normalizing institutional relations (…) for us it is necessary to deepen the negotiation, there must be a more intense dialogue”, and he added: “Repression is incompatible with political negotiation and that is why we demand these guarantees . Today we have agreed to work on these guarantees to live up to the needs and the facts and we will work so that there are results in the coming days”.
The councilor also recalled that “all political projects must be fully respected”, since they all have “political and social legitimacy and none can be criminalized”, because that is what has happened to her, in her opinion to the independence movement.
Beyond that, Bolaños and Vilagrá have reiterated their intention to hold a meeting between Sánchez and Aragonès, which they both agreed to do more than a month and a half ago. The minister has already warned that the president’s “agenda” is complicated, but according to the minister they will see each other before the summer. “We return to this horizon with dialogue,” said Bolaños, who assured that “stability is necessary because it reaffirms a fundamental axis of the legislature.” Asked if they have addressed the ERC’s support for the government’s laws, which has not been produced since the breakup due to espionage, Bolaños said that it has been a meeting between governments.