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The president of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, met with the major pro-independence organizations this Tuesday evening after announcing he would so hours earlier. But by the time the meeting began, it had already derailed. The argument had, in effect, been served on a tray by the president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Dolors Feliu, when she announced from Plaça Sant Jaume before entering the Palau de la Generalitat that she intended to propose to Aragonès to make effective Catalonia's unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) in the second half of 2023. Simply said, Aragonès dismissed the proposal bluntly and demanded the ANC put more work into their proposals.

The Catalan government had not known about the proposal before Feliu announced it at the door of the government palace, but neither did the other major pro-independence bodies present, Òmnium Cultural and the Association of Municapalities for Independence (AMI). The irritation among the representatives of Òmnium, which on Sunday made a plea against the self-destructive tendency of the independence movement, was evident and its president, Xavier Antich, avoided making statements at the end of the meeting.

In fact, according to sources present at the meeting, at some points the conversation became a "three against one", in which the Assembly was left alone. And the government did not waste the ANC's miscalculation. Suddenly a meeting that was considered complicated, after the success of Sunday's demonstration despite not having the support of ERC, became much simpler and the president took the opportunity to hammer home his advantage. It was his second negative, after this morning he had already rejected Feliu's demand to call elections.

Wishes and proclamations

In the subsequent press conference, the Catalan presidency minister, Laura Vilagrà assured that the goal of the Generalitat government is to win independence, and not to invoke the UDI again which would amount to "tripping up on the same stone again". "Today the conditions are not right to go ahead with a proposal of the characteristics that the ANC has made. Everyone knows that", she assured when appearing before the press.

The minister did not try to hide the tension of the meeting - in which, according to sources present, Feliu asked the president as many as three times to pronounce on her proposal - nor did she try to soften her message. In front of the journalists she assured that "today there is only one strategy for advancing independence". "The rest are wishes and proclamations, which we can share but they do not come close to the goal of Catalan independence," she replied.

In fact, Vilagrà was even more blunt in her disgust for the situation created by the ANC by presenting a last-minute proposal, and warned that any proposal must be put forward seriously and with arguments, requesting them to put more work on them more before presenting them.

No effect on Aragonès

The president of the ANC also reacted forcefully after the meeting. According to Feliu, Sunday's Diada demonstration has had no effect on the Catalan president, as he has maintained the same position "without touching a single comma". "The people who took to the streets on September 11th have had no effect on him," she denounced, calling him an "immobilist" for the same reason. At the meeting, Aragonès reaffirmed his commitment to the strategy of negotiation with the Spanish state, but the ANC president criticized that he had not provided "any new data" to justify his insistence on a strategy that, so far, has not borne any fruit or brought Catalonia closer to independence.

The ANC's proposal, which consisted of making the declaration of independence effective in the second half of 2023, coinciding with the Spanish presidency of the European Union, was also rejected by the head of the executive. "He said that he does not intend to assess it and completely dismissed it," denounced Feliu, who made it clear that it was not a closed proposal, but that she sought to start a dialogue within the independence movement, rebuild consensus and draw people out into the open. Faced with this refusal to move by Aragonès, the ANC reaffirmed itself in the demand it made during the Diada speech, in which the organization demanded the calling of Catalan elections if it did not move decisively towards independence, in which the Assembly would consider presenting its own civic list. The Assembly also met with the vice-president of the Generalitat, Jordi Puigneró, after meeting with the president.


Puigneró dissociates himself from Vilagrà's statements

Shortly after the appearance of Laura Vilagrà, the vice president of the Catalan government, Jordi Puigneró, distanced himself from what the presidency minister had said. Specifically, Puigneró stated that Vilagrà's assessment "does not respond to the government" view and he linked it only to the presidency, given that "the government has not debated this issue" of the ANC's request to make independence effective during the second half of 2023.