The president of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, has defended that "no Catalan independence supporter should have any remorse or doubts about defending what they want, wherever they are, which is the right to self-determination and an amnesty", in reference to the dialogue table on the Spain-Catalonia political conflict. Speaking this Friday morning, Aragonés called on the entire pro-independence movement to "commit itself fully" to this "negotiating table" and confirmed that he himself will chair the Catalan delegation at the table, which is likely to meet soon after Catalonia's Diada on September 11th.
The president, who this morning visited the Red Cross lifeguards and adapted swimming service in Caldes d'Estrac, said that the dialogue table is the "most difficult negotiation which Catalonia has faced in recent decades" and therefore he asked for all possible energies to be put into it. At the same time, he called for the support and involvement of the whole of Catalan society to ensure that, with this negotiation, "Catalonia takes a great step forward".
For Pere Aragonès, the Catalan elections of 14th February showed that "there is a majority in favour of Catalonia becoming an independent state, but to achieve this, we must generate even broader majorities and defend the right to self-determination before the Spanish state". Again, he took advantage of this message to defend the dialogue table: "That's why this negotiating table exists, that's why we're going there and I will be 100% committed ."
"Responsibility" in face of fire risks and Covid
Asked about the current extreme risk of wildfires in most parts of Catalonia as a result of the heatwave, president Aragonés appealed to "individual and collective responsibility" and underlined that the risk "is the highest it has been in recent years." "The government has everything ready to fight fires," the president said, but called on the public to "minimize actions of risk because in the current conditions any small negligence or recklessness could cause a fire."
This "responsibility and prevention" is also important in the context of the pandemic, the ERC leader said. Pere Aragonès stated that "Covid-19 is not on holiday" and gave a message to all those over the age of 12 who have not yet been vaccinated, encouraging them to "do so in order to face the new school term with greater safety". "The fifth wave has not been beaten, although the number of infections and hospitalizations are declining." As for the speed of vaccination, Aragonés described it as "good" and for this reason does not envisage the need to consider measures such as the use of the Covid Passport to access certain establishments or premises.
After the third pro-independence party, the CUP, declared this week that it is dissatisfied with ERC for "breaching the legislature agreement" between the two parties, a question mark hangs over the 2022 Catala government budget. Aragonès says he is "convinced" that it will be passed "with a broad consensus" and predicts that "political forces, especially those that supported the investiture, will be up to the task and will commit themselves to it because it will provide the tools to take on the transformations that the country needs."
Despite this message, Aragonès responded with caution and asserted that "the aim should not be to pressure any political party to commit itself too soon". “What we need is to have a good budget,” the president explained.