Monday, May 16

The Government offers ERC and Junts to enter the Official Secrets Commission so that the CNI explains Pegasus

Government movement to try to put on track the espionage crisis through the Pegasus program. The Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, has offered the Government that all parliamentary groups, including those of ERC and Junts, join the Official Secrets Commission in Congress so that the CNI can explain there its actions around the alleged you listen to some sixty people related to the independence movement, among others the last four presidents of the Generalitat. Bolaños has also exhibited before the councilor Laura Vilagrà the investigation that the Ombudsman will carry out as another of the key actions to clarify the facts.

In addition to this, Bolaños has announced two more mechanisms: on the one hand, the opening of an “internal control” of the director of the CNI on the actions of the body, with the aim of gathering information and being able to contribute it to the Secrets Commission. On the other hand, the willingness of the Government to declassify the documents that are claimed on the case, either from the judicial authorities or by the Ombudsman.

“The Government of Spain understands the restlessness and concern of those affected and of the entire Catalan and Spanish society. We understand them and that is why we want to act with maximum transparency”; said the minister after the appearance. “The Government has a clear conscience and nothing to hide,” he stressed, after guaranteeing those affected that the Government “is going to clarify the facts.” “Our will is to guarantee that Spain is a State of Law with full guarantees”, he added.

These explanations, however, have not satisfied the independentistas, who consider that an independent investigation should be opened to clarify the facts, in addition to giving guarantees that the wiretapping has ended and that it cannot occur again. “The meeting did not go well”, summarized Minister Vilagrà, who appeared after the minister. “We cannot be satisfied with the explanations that the minister has given, which are completely insufficient, vague, unspecific and with an uncertain result”, she assured. Vilagrà has asked the Government to assume responsibilities that, in her opinion, “six days later have not been assumed”.

The Official Secrets Commission has not yet been constituted, due to the need for a three-fifths qualified majority and the crossed veto of the parties. This space, which meets behind closed doors, without cameras and to which journalists cannot access, is the one that the law marks as the only place where classified information and reserved expenses can be offered. However, in order to invite the Catalan groups to this commission, the Government will need to force a majority that it does not have at the moment. “It is important that the commission be constituted immediately,” said Bolaños, who has indicated that he has already begun to seek the support of the groups.

Vilagrà has also assured that “if the Spanish Government does not move, there will be serious consequences”, for which he has asked that no attempt be made to resolve it with “cosmetic” measures, but with the resignation of those responsible whom he has preferred not to name. “The Government knows perfectly well that our reaction is not a bluff, it does not normalize relations or guarantee our parliamentary support,” Vilagrà indicated. In this way, the Government maintains its belief that trust is “broken”, which prevents them, for example, from returning to the dialogue table but also from maintaining an attitude of parliamentary support, as he has indicated.

Minister Bolaños and Minister Vilagrà have met in her office and not in any of the noble halls of the Palau, a scenario that highlighted the fact that it was the minister who was traveling to Barcelona at the request of the Generalitat . The Government has also preferred not to sit Bolaños at a table where the distance between the two was very visible and at the express request of the Minister, the two have left their mobiles outside the room. For his part, in a gesture that instead of marking distances tried to shorten them, Félix Bolaños has come with a book to give to the minister: In defense of conversation, by Sherry Turkle.

In this framework, hostile on the part of the Government and an attempt to reunite on the part of the Government, Bolaños has offered his measures to try to close the crisis. A few hours earlier, the Ombudsman had announced that he was launching his own investigation into the events, acting in his capacity as high commissioner of the Cortes Generales for the defense of constitutional rights.

The tension between the central Executive and the Catalan had grown throughout the week. While at first Aragonès avoided talking about a breakdown in relations, after his trip to Madrid to meet with the parliamentary groups in Congress that support the investigation commission, the president threatened to withdraw ERC support from some of the key government laws. In addition, the head of the Government demands the aforementioned “face to face” meeting with President Sánchez to discuss the matter, a request that for the moment has not received a response from Moncloa.

The demand that Aragonès and his people have reiterated is to obtain immediate explanations from the Government about the interference in mobile phones, to know if the CNI is behind them, their scope and also who ordered them. Until now, the Executive had refused to report these details, alleging that the information that affects the intelligence services is protected by law.

Bolaños’ trip to Barcelona tries to reduce this growing tension and redirect the scandal through dialogue. “For the Government it is very important to continue maintaining the same desire for dialogue that has been practiced until now with the Government of Catalonia since Pedro Sánchez became president,” sources from the Executive indicated this Saturday. For its part, from Junts they disdained the meeting if it was not to announce an investigation by the Government. “Otherwise, and as agreed between the two Govern partners last Tuesday, we keep relations frozen and therefore bilateral political meetings,” they said from the formation.

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