Day of continuing high tension in the Catalan government over the composition of its delegation to take part in Wednesday's meeting of the Spain-Catalonia dialogue table. Catalan president Pere Aragonès announced at midday that his cabinet had approved the members of the Catalan side for the dialogue table meeting in Barcelona. However, he ratified only the members proposed by his own party, ERC - himself, with ministers Laura Vilagrà and Roger Torrent - since coalition partners Junts have not withdrawn the delegation list they proposed this morning, which includes leaders who are not part of the executive. Nevertheless, Aragonès insisted that "the composition of the delegation will be open to members of the government that Junts wants to appoint."
The president demanded "maximum loyalty" from Junts - not to one party or another but to the president, he said, asserting that the loyalty he asks for is "two-way". He was critical of the fact that he was not informed until the last moment of the Junts proposal, which proposes three delegation members who are not members of the Catalan government - party vice president Jordi Sànchez; secretary general Jordi Turull; and spokesperson in the Spanish Congress, Míriam Nogueras (along with fourth member Jordi Puignero, the Catalan vice president) - and that this prevented the party's proposal from being debated.
This has been the latest episode of a day of tension in the Catalan government, which first forced the scheduled cabinet meeting to be suspended after Aragonés vetoed the names that Junts proposed for the dialogue table. When the meeting resumed, Junts said that it maintained its proposal, although making it clear that this would not be an obstacle for the meeting of the dialogue table to take place. The government then suspended its usual press conference and instead the president made an appearance in the Generalitat palace's Gothic gallery.
The presence of Pedro Sánchez
In his appearance, Aragonès emphasized that this meeting represents an historic opportunity - "amnesty and self-determination will be discussed, that can be taken for granted", he insisted - and that he has no intention of allowing it to be missed.
In the face of Junts's complaints about Pedro Sánchez not taking part in the negotiations - after avoiding the question for weeks, he said in last night's ambiguous announcement that he would be present to "meet" the table delegations - Aragonès countered with the achievement of "getting the Spanish prime minister to come and meet to negotiate and that a negotiating table has been accepted". He said that the important thing is that the table has the maximum importance, that initially the Catalan president and Spanish prime minister had been expected to attend only at some points, and that "the two leaders will be there at the same time or neither will be there, for balance."
In relation to the protests raised by Junts, both inside and outside the meeting, declaring that the government agreement does not state that members of the Catalan delegation have to be members of the cabinet, the president said that in recent months he had made it clear that this was to be the case, and that the fact that, if the previous dialogue table meeting included people who were not members of the cabinet, it was due to the fact that elections had already been called at that time. In addition, the Catalan president emphasized that, in that delegation, although not all the members were part of the Catalan government, all of them held some institutional position.
Aragonés wanted to get past the crisis that has been generated over the composition of the delegation. He played down the situation during his appearance, asserting that he has confidence in all members of his executive . "This government has a lot of work to do. We have before us an emotional and economic reconstruction due to the pandemic. We are working hard to be able to pass the government plan in the coming weeks," he said when asked about the solidity of the government.