Catalan foreign minister Victòria Alsina has addressed a letter to the consular body established in Barcelona in which she explains that this week's pardons of the nine pro-independence politicians and civil society leaders "do not resolve the political conflict between Catalonia and Spain". In fact, in the letter Alsina notes that next Tuesday, 41 Catalan officials and public servants face millionaire fines "imposed by the Court of Accounts ... without trial" linked to the foreign action of the Catalan government between 2011 and 2017. She also remarks that "we need to keep in mind the thousands of people who have been or are being prosecuted for the same case".
Pardons: an international requirement
The foreign affairs minister emphasizes that pardoning the pro-independence prisoners is "only one" of the six recommendations made by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Monday. She also recalled that in 2018 and 2019 courts in both Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) and Brussels (Belgium) had already "shown the way forward" by releasing former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and other members of his executive in exile.
Alsina also asserts that the pardons "cannot be considered apart" from the "repeated" international political and judicial demands for action from Spain on the Catalan issue. She notes that, in addition to the resolution adopted "by a large majority" in the Council of Europe, earlier statements denouncing the situation of those pursued by the Spanish state were made by the United Nations, Amnesty International, the World Organization against Torture, the International Commission of Jurists and the United States Department of State.
Finally, the minister reminded the consular corps that the political conflict between Catalonia and Spain is "the result of the aspiration of a majority of Catalan citizens" to exercise "freely and democratically" the right to self-determination "contained in the Charter of the United Nations".
Spanish ministers take differing lines on Court of Accounts
Just today, the Spanish transport minister, José Luís Ábalos, acknowledged that the cases opened against former high-ranking government officials in the Court of Accounts are "stones in the path" of the dialogue process with Catalonia and stated that now there is a need for them "to begin clearing this path, but always from the recognition of the organs and institutions and within legality".
However, later this Friday, his colleague Fernando Grande-Marlaska, interior minister, took a different line. Asked whether he agreed with Ábalos's statements he merely said that "in a solvent and solid democracy like the Spanish one, every institution does what it has to do according to its competences".