President Aragonès: “We have managed to get the Spanish State to sit at the negotiating table on the political conflict”

The President of Catalonia’s Generalitat Government yesterday defended amnesty and self-determination of the Catalan people in the context of the resumption of talks between the Catalan and Spanish governments

“Today is an important day for our country. We have begun the negotiation process proper between Catalonia and Spain, and this time it must provide sufficient continuity to allow us to progress,” said the Catalan Generalitat government’s President Pere Aragonès at a press conference. “We have achieved what seemed impossible: to get the Spanish state to sit at the negotiating table and address the political conflict as mutually recognized political subjects,” he added.

The president spoke after meeting Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez at the seat of the Catalan government, the Palau de la Generalitat in the centre of Barcelona, prior to the start of negotiations between the two governments’ teams. According to the Catalan president, this is the “true resumption of the negotiation process” after a long recess as a result of the pandemic, and also due to the “repression by the judicial bodies of the State that disbarred the then President of the Generalitat” he recalled.

Mr Aragonés explained that at the meeting of the heads of government, “we reiterated our mutual institutional recognition and reaffirmed that we are facing a conflict of a political nature that requires a political and democratic solution.” And while “our opening positions are very far apart” he said, “we share the will to work and the consensus that the negotiating table is the appropriate instrument.”

The president said he was also aware that the negotiations “will require time and perseverance” from both parties, and they do not therefore want to set specific deadlines. “As the negotiations progress, however, there must be specifics; we will demand results,” he pointed out. In this regard, the next meetings must be regular and discreet in order to move forward. “We do not want photo ops but negotiations,” he said.

“As a government, we represent the entire country, and our proposals include the majority will of our country,” he continued, a will and the consensus of the majority that he put on the table at the meeting with Mr Sanchez: an amnesty to put an end to the repression that has not ceased, and a referendum on self-determination to give the entire people of Catalonia a voice in deciding the future of the country. “Democracy is the most legitimate instrument we have to resolve political conflict; that is how I have presented it to the Spanish prime minister and his government,” he concluded.