Summary of Pere Aragonès’ speech during the presidential investiture debate

A compilation of the most notable quotes by Pere Aragonès, Esquerra’s candidate to preside the Catalan government, during the first session of the investiture debate in the Parliament of Catalonia today.

  1. The new republican Catalan Generalitat government I want to lead will be a government that will stand by the people in order to overcome, together, the very difficult situation that the country is going through. And it will be a government with the utmost creativity, with the utmost innovation and with the utmost determination to change the status quo so as to transform the country by building a new Catalonia, which we want to be prosperous, just, feminist, green and entirely free.
  2. The government I want to lead will have three clear, transparent objectives: - To tackle with absolute determination the urgencies and social inequalities that we are suffering and that the pandemic has aggravated.
    - To foster an economic recovery, laying the foundations of a new productive model that measures its strengths in terms of prosperity and wellfare for all.
    - And to address the resolution of the political conflict with Spain via a National Accord for Amnesty and Self-Determination, which must bring together the country’s political parties, entities and institutions.
  3. National freedom and social justice go hand in hand. They are two sides of the same coin. And understanding this explains why I am actively pro-independence, it explains why I am progressive, as is in fact an ever growing majority of Catalan society.
  4. Catalonia is a nation, and a single people. These two ideals have historically been and remain consensual, and they must guide our political action at all times. The republican, progressive conception of the Catalan nation comes from afar. A red republican thread that goes from [the presidency of the First Spanish Republic] of Pi Margall, linking with [Catalan left-wing nationalist] Valentí Almirall, [progressive republican teorist] Roca Farreras, [Catalan modernista poet and essayist] Gabriel Alomar, [socialist] Rafel Campalans and [Esquerra politician] Rovira i Virgili, intertwining with [anarcho-syndicalist] Salvador Seguí, [republican nationalist] Francesc Layret and [anarchist] Joan Peiró. Presidents Macià, Companys, Irla and Tarradellas, and pioneers such as Nativitat Yarza and Justa Goicoechea, took over from them, and the red thread carried on with [writer] Montserrat Roig and [novelist, playwright and activist] Maria Aurèlia Capmany, through [historians] Josep Benet and Josep Fontana. This is the common thread of my republicanism.
  5. I imagine and want a country where fraternity is an inseparable element of true economic freedom. There is no economic freedom with inequitable labour relations, and when people are forced to choose between precariousness and poverty; there is no economic freedom when oligopolies exercise a position of dominance that conditions and limits entrepreneurs, professionals, workers and small business owners.
  6. I imagine and want a country where it is clear that without equality there is no freedom, a feminist country, that understands that there are many ways to love. I want an ecological country, a country where racism does not figure, and a European country. We therefore need a Ministry for Climate Action, and we must make a National Pact for Ecological Transition possible. Likewise a Ministry for Gender Equality that places the feminist agenda at the centre of public policy.
  7. Within the first 100 days of government, we will allocate 700 million euros to deal with the social emergency we are suffering as a country. €700 million to encourage recruitment; to rescue families, to deal with extreme poverty and homelessness; and to reduce waiting times for programmes for persons in care.
  8. For many, 2020 has been the worst year of our lives. We have lost relatives and friends. Jobs have been lost and businesses closed. To protect us, our personal relationships have been interfered with by masks, distancing, screens, isolation. But the pandemic has also brought out the good and the best of what we are as a country: committed essential service personnel who have staked their lives for us, the solidarity of our towns and neighbourhoods, innovation, science and talent placed at the service of the defence of health and life. The priceless value of what is shared, of what is common, what is public, and what is essential.
  9. As long as the conflict between Spain and Catalonia is not resolved democratically, democracy will be in crisis. And to that crisis, today we must add the threat posed by the incursion of the uninhibited far right in Parliament. Hate-fostering parties. That is why we will always oppose their discourse of fear and discrimination and we will not rest until we manage to eject their fascism and racism from the Catalan institutions and our society.
  10. We bear the responsibility of the generations that have preceded us. Diverse, plural, but fighters and builders of today’s Catalonia. But we owe it to the generations of tomorrow, to whom we want to leave a legacy in the form of a free, fraternal and just country. For these reasons, I ask for your vote in favour of my inauguration as the President of the Generalitat de Catalunya. A president for everyone.