The day after the meeting between the Catalan and Spanish governments in Barcelona, there is a lot to take stock of. And not just the presidential meeting and the first session of the dialogue table itself. But rather, the controversy, which turned into a crisis 24 hours before the meeting, not around the issues to be addressed, but around who would be sitting at the table.
In an interview with radio station RAC1, the Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, certified this morning that the names that Junts proposed for the dialogue table - Jordi Puigneró, Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull and Míriam Nogueras - will have a role in the negotiation process.
"We have to get everyone involved in this process, and so obviously, the most important political leaders will have to play a part, one way or another," said the Catalan president, thus making it clear that the fact that they did not sit at the first meeting of the table does not leave them without a key role. But Aragonès also insisted that the members who sit at the table must necessarily be from the Catalan government, since "those who represent Catalonia are its government".
Aragonès backed this assertion by putting forward a scenario in which the Spanish delegation started introducing other members, not part of the government, into the talks: "People would say it showed a lack of confidence".
Interviewer Jordi Basté replied to this with the point that "the PSOE does not have political prisoners". To which the Catalan president affirmed: "The political prisoners have to play a role too." But this, he said, must be decided through reaching an agreement with the other side on how to allow it.
Meeting with Puigneró
This Thursday morning Aragonès met with his vice president, Jordi Puigneró, to inform him about the details of the dialogue table, since Junts had not wanted to participate. Before meeting, the president explained that the purpose was to give Puigneró "all the necessary information" about the meeting, to talk about how things have gone in recent days and to decide how to approach the next steps in the dialogue with the Spanish government.
He also said that after the meeting with Sánchez, and after the dialogue table, he had called the ERC leader, Oriol Junqueras, to explain how everything had gone.
The previous table
Asked why the previous dialogue table with the Spanish state, when Quim Torra was president, was attended by members from outside the Catalan government, whereas this time not, Aragonès stressed that it was done because "at that time it was decided that there there could be senior government officials and MPs on the table, I remember it was the end of the legislature and the government was going to change within a very short time." He made it clear that the context was not the same, as at that meeting Quim Torra had already announced his intention to dissolve Parliament.
Aragonès stressed that for weeks he had made it clear to his government partners in Junts that only members of the government should sit at the dialogue table and "he had a commitment" from vice president Puigneró and the general secretary of Junts, Jordi Sànchez, "that they would work to make it so."
But on Tuesday morning, just as the Catalan government was meeting to approve the names of its delegation, Jordi Sànchez called him to send him the JxCat proposal, which Aragonès did not accept.