Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias have signed an agreement to form the first coalition government in Spain's recent history. And they've done so in a situation more arithmetically difficult than in the months when the legislature was paralysed, which led to Sunday's election and shows that, sometimes, politicians also know how to make a virtue of necessity. Sánchez has hastened the agreement before the hotbed of rumours which Madrid has been since Sunday evening could end up claiming his head. He's yielded, well, obviously. To start, he's swallowed his pride, reflected in a phrase which, like all of his, is lacking of any value: "I wouldn't sleep peacefully with Unidas Podemos in the government". That was weeks ago. Now he's turned on a penny with ministers and Iglesias as deputy prime minister. In this respect, Podemos's secretary general is the clear winner, although he's had to drop some of his principles which, in the end, are just that: principles, not ends.
Point 9 of the agreement is hard to swallow, even for En Comú and, sincerely, it's hard for pro-independence Catalan parties to manage. It's entitled: "To guarantee social harmony in Catalonia" and reads: "The priority of the Spanish government will be to guarantee social harmony in Catalonia and the normalisation of political life. With this aim, dialogue will be promoted in Catalonia, looking for formulas for understanding and coming together, always within the Constitution. The system of autonomous communities will also be strengthened to ensure the adequate provision of the rights and services within their competence. We will guarantee equality between the Spanish people." Social harmony, dialogue in Catalonia, not with Catalonia, and Constitution. Nothing about bilaterality, dialogue without red lines, an agreed-upon referendum, the right to self-determination or an amnesty. One can be the last one invited to the table, but you can't be the only one left with nothing to eat. And that's what it seems awaits Catalan independence supporters once again in Madrid.
Although things happen without anyone planning them in politics too, the first headline since the pact between Sánchez and Iglesias has been the decision by the Spanish public prosecution service to order the Catalan public prosecutors' office to investigate any possible criminal responsibility on the part of the Catalan Parliament's Bureau after having authorised a debate and vote in the chamber on a motion reiterating Catalonia's right to self-determination. That Spanish public prosecution service is that one that Pedro Sánchez proudly said, just six days ago, "follows orders from the government". So there's that. Just in case, the agreement won't be published in the Official Bulletin of the Parliament. Just a toe in the water...
And, in the middle of it all, a great story from Brussels: an attorney general of the European Union believes that Oriol Junqueras should have been recognised a member of the European Parliament following the proclamation of the election results, independent of formal questions like swearing allegiance to the Constitution or any other formality imposed by a member state, in this case, Spain. Obviously, the decision is a serious setback for the Central Electoral Commission, the Supreme Court, judge Pablo Llarena, judge Manuel Marchena and the European Parliament itself, since they have all made statements to the opposite effect at one point or another. The decision -although it is not binding, they tend to be followed- strengthens the hopes of president Carles Puigdemont and minister Toni Comín of being able to take their seats in the coming weeks. Conclusion: European and Spanish justice have little in common.