Jailed leader of the pro-independence ERC party, Oriol Junqueras, says that support for the Spanish government's annual budget "depends on progress at the dialogue table. We're taking it one step at a time". The Catalan prisoner also asserts that the Spanish Socialist (PSOE) party, the senior party in the new Spanish government, only enters into negotiations when the circumstances demand it.
In an interview he gave to Spanish daily El País, Junqueras said that ERC only gave the green light to a Pedro Sánchez government through abstaining with its 13 critical parliamentary votes "because the alternative, a PP and Vox government, was much worse" and he was convinced that "if we and the PSOE do things right, the far right will have little room."
In addition, the ERC leader was very expressive in denying that he had deceived Catalans by promising an independence which was impossible: "That's bullshit. Fucking bullshit. We told the truth: that the process had to end in independence. This was prevented by beatings, imprisonments, sacking governments and closing parliaments," said Junqueras. For the pro-independence leader, "the goal was and is independence. And it will arrive of its own accord: we just need to work to convince more people." Junqueras's profanity - una puta mierda in Spanish - provoked a strong reaction from the right-wing Twittersphere.
The governability of Spain
Regarding the pact which ERC reached with the PSOE to enable the new government to form - as well as reaching agreement on a Spain-Catalonia negotiation table - the jailed politician affirmed that "the governability of Spain at this time is quite strategic for ERC". He said their abstentions to enable the new coalition were "what any European democrat would have done", adding that "the parties we have negotiated with continue to show unbelievable levels of inhumanity: they know that we are innocent and they still remain silent". He also denounced that the Catalan Socialists - the partners in Catalonia of the governing PSOE - have "applauded the imprisonment of innocent people."
Asked on support for the all-important annual budget, he told El País that his party would "sit down and see if it is possible to reach an agreement", emphasizing the need to take it "one step at a time". Last April, he said, when the PSOE called the first of 2019's two Spanish elections, it was the Socialists who "did not want to negotiate the budget" and "chose to go to elections". Junqueras said that "attributing responsibility for this to ERC is inaccurate".
The Supreme Court "is right in nothing"
The ERC leader said in the interview that the Supreme Court "is right in nothing" and the lesson learned from the entire "process" is that "we did it so that we can do it again."
In any case, he recognizes that "any complex process must necessarily be multilateral. And in this case, it requires Catalan, Spanish, European and international political institutions, as well as private companies, and having enough support."