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A "Friday of Sorrows" has ended with a setback for the Catalan government, which has not managed to close an agreement with the opposition parties at this afternoon's Drought Summit. At 8pm, while many Catalans were already thinking about their Easter break, the summit headed by the president, Pere Aragonès, at the Palau de la Generalitat adjourned without reaching consensus on measures to deal with the persistent lack of rainfallBefore entering, the opposition had already made clear its demand that the executive amend the decree it approved at the beginning of March, and the government had shown a willingness to move. However, the regime of penalties contained in the decree derailed the agreement. "I always say that to reach great consensus you need empathy and generosity. Today, little was needed. We only needed willingness, and we have not found sufficient", criticized the Catalan minister for Climate Action, Teresa Jordà, who attributed the situation to the proximity of the municipal elections since, according to her, the deal had been closed before the meeting began.

From the very beginning, the opposition criticized both the measures of the decree against the drought that the Catalan government had approved at the beginning of March, and the delay in adopting them. In fact, on that occasion, it was only the abstention of PSC, Junts, Commons and CUP that allowed Parliament to ratify the drought decree last week, with only the votes of the 33 ERC deputies and a former deputy of Vox, now not-attached, Antonio Gallego. The regime of fines, and the demand for more investments, focused the opposition parties' criticisms.

Delay of sanctions

In a press appearance a little after 8pm, the Catalan minister for Climate Action confirmed that over the last three days, the parties had brought their positions closer together in a pre-agreement and that, despite this, the delay, also agreed, on the execution of fines had broken the deal. The government agreed to postpone fines until July 1st, as Junts demanded, but the PSC demanded that they be left until September.

Jordà, who did not hide her disappointment at the failure of the summit, and stressed that the fines are intended to deter and not earn revenue, affirmed that they had a pre-agreement defined at four in the afternoon with proposals for financial support to the municipalities with a new line of subsidies, increased investments and infrastructure planning. "The government of Catalonia and the ministry will carry all these commitments through", she assured.

PSC: the government has broken its word

The PSC assured that its will was "not to put obstacles" in the way of the agreement and that from the start they had made it clear that it was necessary to withdraw the fines system, "because it is a serious error of approach", and yet they were willing to accept a delay until September. The Socialist spokeperson, who declared that it is impossible to get out of the drought situation without assisting the municipalities, criticized the government for lack of commitment it had shown in allowing the approval of the decree with PSC abstention. The Socialists rejected the accusations of electoralism and, ironically, chose to bring up the controversy over a recent incident involving the Catalan welfare minister Carles Campuzano at an electoral act featuring Gabriel Rufian.

Junts: a lack of government leadership

"Today we have seen the lack of initiative and the lack of leadership of the government of Catalonia", said the Junts spokesperson, Albert Batet, when he appeared before the media. Batet pointed out that his commitment was for a delay in fines until the month of July and he criticized that "some people think more about their parties than the country". Batet accused the government of acting late and badly and announced the intention of Junts to present a proposal for a law requiring only a single reading with measures for the drought.

CUP: electoral tactics, pure and simple

From the CUP, Eulàlia Reguant spoke of disappointment and shame because the Catalan government has allowed itself to be dragged into a scenario of pure electoral tactics in the approach to the municipal elections, "without any willingness or interest in debating transformative measures before a situation that is structural."

On behalf of En Comú Podem, Jéssica Albiach expressed disappointment at a summit that has turned out to be "another lost opportunity for ecological planning". She recalled that the summit was not held at the behest of the government but as a result of the difficulties it had last week in approving the drought decree, and accused the PSC and Junts of electoralism.

The ERC spokesperson Marta Vilalta insisted that the drought is a national issue that requires a common front, and underlined the pre-agreement document that had been agreed with the opposition, denouncing that today there is no agreement because some parties have blocked it "out of electoralism and party interests".