Puigdemont questions Spain’s willingness to dialogue as it doesn’t include bilateral negotiation with Catalonia

Article published at Catalan News Agency, 30th November 2016.

Barcelona (CNA).- Catalonia “fairly deserves” a bilateral negotiation with the Government in Madrid and anything other than this will “dilute and disguise what is really going on”, stated the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont during this Wednesday’s session of control in the Parliament. Thus, he showed his suspicion in relation to the Spanish Government’s recent calls for dialogue and accused the Spanish executive of “confusing public opinion” and “not admitting” that Catalonia requires “different solutions”. “Common solutions to different problems are useless”, he stated. In a similar vein, pro-independence radical left CUP MP, Mireia Boya urged Puigdemont to ignore Spain’s “siren calls” and show citizens the Government’s determination “to accelerate” the campaign to win the pro-independence referendum in Catalonia.  

Puigdemont explained that what has happened in Catalonia for the last years has not been seen in any other Autonomous Community and therefore he felt that “Catalonia fairly deserves to be recognised in an absolutely different way than the other realities” within Spain. “If this is not the starting point, then there is no such willingness to dialogue but only to dilute and disguise what is really going on” in Catalonia, he said. Puigdemont also lamented that the Spanish Government “confuses public opinion” by denying this differential status to Catalonia and “not admitting, with courage and responsibility, that in Catalonia there are different things going which require different solutions”. “Common solutions to different problems are useless”, he stated.

According to Puigdemont, those who want to dialogue should respect Catalonia’s reality and the democratic options. In this vein, he also emphasised that the only condition which could be imposed on dialogue is not imposing conditions at all, since a dialogue with conditions would become a monologue. Anything other than this, would be, according to Puigdemont “another episode of propaganda”.

CUP call for ignoring Spain’s “siren calls”

Pro-independence radical left CUP MP, Mireia Boya, warned that Spain’s willingness to dialogue are “siren calls” and urged Puigdemont not to go along with them. “If we allow the Foreign Ministers’ cabinet to meet at our home or if we go to Madrid to negotiate our funding system, how can we prove to our people that we are determined and that we want to accelerate our process?”, asked Boya rhetorically. She also called for “not lying” to the citizens and “starting the campaign to win the pro-independence referendum” in Catalonia.

PP praises “signals” from the Spanish Government

On the other hand, Xavier García Albiol, the leader of the Catalan branch of Spain’s governing party PP, called for Puigdemont not to be like “a statue” before the “signals” sent by the Spanish Government. According to García Albiol, the Catalan President should stop “promoting a break-up, division and conflict” and accept dialogue with Spain’s executive.

As a response, Puigdemont ironically described the “signals” from the Spanish Government as “as obsolete as the telegraph or smoke signals”. The Catalan President insisted again on the need to hold a “bilateral” dialogue with Catalonia since at the last regional presidents’ meeting there were 14 pro-independence MPs in the Parliament and now there are 72.

Junqueras to attend the Council on Fiscal and Financial Policies 

During the session, Catalan Socialist leader, Miquel Iceta, celebrated the Government’s decision to attend the Council on Fiscal and Financial Policies. Indeed, the Secretary for Economy, Pere Aragonès, confirmed this Wednesday that the Catalan Vice Preisdent and Minister for Economy and Tax Office, Oriol Junqueras, will attend the meeting, to be held in Madrid on Thursday. “Wherever there is a single euro at stake that the Catalan Government could obtain, we have to be there”, explained Aragonès in an interview with TV3. However, he nuanced that the Catalan Ministry “won’t take part in any performance whatsoever aimed to mask things”.

This Thursday’s Council on Fiscal and Financial Policies will be the first presided over by Spanish Vice President Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, who has assumed the Territorial Administrations portfolio in the new Spanish executive.



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