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A huge expectation - sufficient to avoid being pushed into the background by Pedro Sánchez's exercise in self-glorification in Barcelona - has been aroused by the meeting this Monday afternoon in Strasbourg of the Assembly of Parliamentarians of the Council of Europe. On the table is the vote on a report which challenges the Spanish Supreme Court trial of the independence process leaders, and calls for the release of the political prisoners and the withdrawal of the European Arrest Warrants which seek to extradite to Spain the members of the Catalan government in exile since October 2017 - a goal unattainable by Spanish justice thus far.

Although the report is devastating for Spain, and it was passed by a large margin in the Council of Europe parliamentary committee which studied it at the beginning of the month, in recent weeks Spanish diplomacy has deployed its entire arsenal of contacts, its ability to influence and call in favours to reverse the situation. The deep state does not want a defeat that it knows it will not be able to explain and, in addition, three Spanish judicial associations have demanded that the government defend their independence and actions in Europe.

The PSOE, the PP, Ciudadanos and Vox have worked in unison to influence the parliamentary delegations of other states and this Monday we will see how far their political and diplomatic army has gone. The fact that Pedro Sánchez staged his event a few hours ahead of the meeting of the Council of Europe's Assembly reveals the importance in politics of establishing the initial narrative on why he is pardoning the pro-independence political prisoners, an action that the Spanish government wants to present as a gesture independent of European pressure on Spain.

Choosing to stress the so-called agenda of reconciliation - as Sánchez calls his (at present, empty) programme to resolve the conflict between Catalonia and Spain - is clearly not the same thing when you are about receive European disauthorization of your actions as it would have been had you done so when the problem was first produced. The charismatic president of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, said in an interview published on Sunday in El Nacional (here, in Catalan) that the pardons don't put an end to anything, that the struggle continues and that it would persist. As well, that the pardons will be the prelude to the defeat that the Spanish state will suffer in Europe. The Council of Europe is knocking on its door this Monday.

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