Read in Catalan

The president of ERCOriol Junqueras, protagonises this Sunday's front page on one of Italy's largest newspapers, La Stampa. In an interview with the Turin daily, he says he's not giving up on achieving Catalan independence and that he feels "strong" despite having spent a year and two months in pretrial detention. He also appears positive about the trial since, although he doesn't believe he will be acquitted, he does believe it will give him a chance to explain himself to Catalonia and Europe.

In the interview, Junqueras said that his party won't support PSOE's 2019 budget "unless [prime minister] Sánchez makes some proposal". The leader of ERC is positive about the efforts made by Sánchez's government, saying that "it's clear that I prefer him to another government", but also that he's waiting for some kind of offer.

Speaking from Lledoners prison, he appears realistic when it comes to the timetable for independence and although he says that "nobody is in more of a rush than me", he clarifies that "I have to make it so that the thing I want for my people can come about". As for the lack of unity in the independence movement and criticism that ERC is delaying the process, Junqueras says that despite his differences with Carles Puigdemont, "at heart we agree, we want to agree on a referendum with the Spanish state".


On the topic of the trial, Junqueras says he feels "fundamentally happy". "They've reduced me to silence by force, locking me behind these bars, and now I'll finally have the opportunity to explain to the Spanish and Europeans that we've not committed any crimes, that organising a referendum isn't punished in the penal code. A person who's right looks forward to speaking".

Nonetheless, he's not kidding himself about the possibility of a favourable outcome: "So far there's been nothing just, so much so that the courts of half of Europe have recognised that violence hasn't taken place in Catalonia". "The next few years of my life will not be easy, but my goal remains an independent Catalonia in a federal Europe, with stronger institutions," Junqueras is quoted as saying.

The vice-president, who has announced he will head his party's candidacy for this year's EU Parliament election, also speaks about the rise of the far right in Europe and Spain, in the latter case referring directly to Vox. "I'm alarmed by this growth and seeing how they leave people to drown in the sea. It drives me to continue the Europeanist fight".

In personal terms, he says that he remains strong and that "prison is the proof of how consistent we've been".