The recognition accorded on Monday to Jordi Pujol by the Catalan foreign ministry, inviting him to a round table with the rest of the former presidents of Catalonia, has not been equally welcomed by all members of the Catalan government. After critical voices were raised from the ERC wing of the governing coalition, the executive's spokesperson, Patrícia Plaja, stated this afternoon that Pujol's presence at the event did not change the government's relationship with the former president, whose recognition was withdrawn days after he confessed in 2014 that for years he had kept money from an inheritance hidden abroad. However, the spokesperson avoided linking Pujol's presence with the fact that the current president, Pere Aragonès, declined to attend the event, which was held in the University of Barcelona auditorium and which featured, in addition to Pujol, Catalan presidents Artur Mas, José Montilla, Carles Puigdemont and Quim Torra. ERC party president Oriol Junqueras also took part.
Among the voices critical of the recognition that the foreign affairs ministry made of the figure of Pujol was that of the ERC spokesperson in Congress, Gabriel Rufián. Plaja affirmed that the situation of Pujol has not changed after he renounced his status and privileges as a former president, including salary, office and support staff, which all the other Catalan ex-presidents have. Spokesperson Plaja admitted that Aragonès had been invited to attend but declined the invitation on the grounds that it was a meeting of former presidents. "The role of Aragonès is different, he is the current president of Catalonia, if he has to talk about Europe, he does so in different places, he doesn't do it in a meeting of ex-presidents", she argued. Plaja reiterated that the initiative was from the foreign affairs department and "each department is free to organize the events it deems appropriate."
Yes to the Spanish king at the MWC
As well, the spokesperson explained that Aragonès will not attend the meeting of Spain's autonomous community presidents which the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has called for February 25th, because "it makes no sense to participate in a meeting that is not work but rather another meeting to take a photo". On the other hand, the Catalan president will be attending events centred on the opening of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week, both at the opening dinner presided over by the king and the inauguration itself, which will also be graced by the Bourbon's presence. "Whereever there is important representation for Catalans, we will be there," said the spokesperson, who insisted that this year's event "could be the edition marking the recovery of conference tourism" in Catalonia, and will have the active participation of the government of Catalonia.
As well, Plaja explained that the first meeting of the National Pact for the Language, which will be held this afternoon at the Palau de la Generalitat, will be used to analyze the report prepared by a group of academics on the situation of the Catalan language. "It is a tough report that expresses a linguistic situation which gives us no pleasure as a government and which had already been intuited," she admitted.