The pardon to the independence leaders was a drink that worried the Government, but once the step was taken, in Moncloa they believe that the strategy has gone well and that it will be a decision that in the long run will be understood, although it has a certain electoral cost for the socialists. The feeling in the Executive is that a new stage is opening in Catalonia, but they hope that the independence movement will move after the gesture of the grace measure, which government sources consider has served to eliminate an “obstacle” that strained relations and complicated the dialogue. That is the next step facing the Government and the Generalitat. Both parties maintain that it will not be easy and even in Moncloa they admit that they do not have a 100% guarantee of success, but they do have the determination to try, just like ERC. What they consider in the Executive, however, is that there is no rush to call the dialogue table. “The independence movement is maturing a new reality,” says a minister, who considers that “changing the slope so quickly costs a lot.”
Catalonia opens the phase of détente
“As they have already removed that obstacle [señalan fuentes gubernamentales sobre la situación de prisión de los líderes independentistas]They have to work with what they have to do, which is to rebuild Catalonia. “” Pere Aragonès, as president, is very much interested in making Catalonia work every day, “these sources add. In the Government, they believe that a gesture is necessary. of the independence movement, although they admit that it has been taking steps such as the normalization of the presence of the king in Catalonia, and also that the current situation in which the departure of the prisoners has been accompanied by demands for amnesty and a referendum, two red lines is deflated for Pedro Sánchez.
But in the Government they admit that ERC is not going to have it easy because of the pressure from the Junts and they hope that there will be “noise” when the call for the dialogue table approaches. That is why they cool the first meeting that was initially planned for July. The Government does not now see with a bad eyes that it is delayed to September and ERC does not object. In any case, the details will be polished by Sánchez and Aragonès in the appointment that they will have next Tuesday in Moncloa.
Although in the Government they take for granted that the independence movement – or at least the most “hyperventilated” part – take out all its “symbolism” when the table is convened, they warn that maximalist positions lead to failure. “It makes no sense to repeat schemes that have had a brutal cost,” says one of the sources consulted in reference to the process. “Forgiving does not imply forgetting, forgiving means giving yourself another opportunity to do better,” said Justice Minister Juan Carlos Campo in the government control session.
At ERC they are determined to get the dialogue flowing and believe that pardons are a good first step, but not the only one. Republicans recall that the situation of the main leaders has eased, but that there are still hundreds of charges pending in smaller cases due to 1-O, as Dolors Bassa recalled after leaving Lledoners. Hence, the ERC spokesperson in Congress, Gabriel Rufián, has brought out in his face to face with Sánchez during the control session the Government the situation of the Court of Accounts – where some independentistas have pending issues and it is an institution managed on the right–, the Constitutional Court –also pending renewal due to the blockade of the PP–, the gag law or the Penal Code. “There is a lot of repression still in Catalonia and outside Catalonia,” said Rufián, who thus referred to “the road that remains to be traveled.”
One of the things that the Executive has on the table – and that will be subject to negotiation with ERC – is the reform of the Penal Code with which, among other things, they intend to adapt the crime of sedition to other neighboring countries after the blows of European courts. This modification could judicially benefit former identity Carles Puigdemont and other pro-independence positions who left Spain to bypass the Justice. The first vice president, Carmen Calvo, assured this Tuesday on TVE that it is a legislative commitment, but has not wanted to set a date. In fact, the Government has been delaying the matter. Some sources trust it for a long time and acknowledge that it will depend on the majority to carry it out. They have even come to consider breaking off that part of the comprehensive reform given the difficulty of assembling majorities for the entire text. ERC, which is already an essential partner for the Government, is willing to address the matter although it considers that it should be negotiated as a whole.
Boost the social agenda before August
In any case, Moncloa is also not interested in Catalonia taking over all the daily news and even less now that the milestone of group immunization is approaching thanks to vaccination, which he hopes will be a boost to the economy together with European funds. The Government has also intensified the social agenda in recent weeks and intends to accelerate before the summer break. In the middle of the debate before the pardons, Sánchez announced one of the most anticipated reliefs from the pandemic: the end of the mask in outdoor spaces as of June 26. The decision will be formally adopted in an extraordinary Council of Ministers this Thursday in which the reduction of the VAT on electricity will also be approved due to the exponential growth in prices.
Ahead are several intense councils of ministers. Next Tuesday the LGTBI law will be approved that has been choking the Executive for months, but that has finally been unlocked with the transfer of the socialist part, which assumes gender self-determination by allowing transsexual people to change their legal sex in the Civil Registry with their mere will, although they will have to ratify the decision three months later. By introducing that draft at the meeting on Tuesday 29 for the rule to coincide with Pride, Calvo has to delay the historical memory law, which will be approved in another session.
In the Executive they also hope that the housing law will be ready soon given the progress in a negotiation that has been entrenched for months, despite the fact that the members of the coalition have been giving each other deadlines that have been constantly breached due to the lack of agreement . The main stumbling block is the regulation of rental prices since the PSOE does not see the maximum price setting claimed by United We Can. Socialist sources assure that they are waiting for the approval of the minority partner to a document in which the proposal that they take as final was outlined, which includes the system of tax credits that the PSOE was betting on and the freezing of rental contracts in stressed areas that subsequently joined the negotiation. However, United We can already warned that it does not renounce the establishment of a maximum ceiling on rent prices that the PSOE discards because it considers that it would be “counterproductive” for the drop in prices since, according to the socialists, it would discourage the exit of homes to market.
The other big issue on which Moncloa wants to focus attention is the distribution of European funds to which they trust a recovery that allows Sánchez to go back to the polls. Eight months after the last conference of presidents, and despite the promise to convene it periodically while the pandemic lasted, Moncloa wants a meeting in July of all the regional chief executives to address the distribution between the communities. All this while the Government awaits the changes that Sánchez has been planning to strengthen the cabinet in this second stage.