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The former president of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Jordi Pujol, has a very positive assessment of the amnesty agreed by the pro-independence parties and the PSOE-Sumar tandem, which is now being processed by the Spanish Congress to become law, as he considers that this measure to dejudicialize the independence process "will be good for social harmony" in his homeland and so that Catalonia "manages to find a place where it fits in the Spanish sphere". Pujol, who at 93 years old and having long retired from active politics gave an interview this Thursday to Catalunya Ràdio on the occasion of the death of the historian and columnist Joan B. Culla, a "very good friend", affirmed that this amnesty needs to have the "broadest possible" reach. Asked if it should include him and his affairs with justice, Pujol remained silent for a few seconds and limited himself to stating the following: "I have been the target of people with a hostile attitude, which comes from way back, and from more than one side, like the PP or the Socialists".

"At least there is a certain commitment that there will be [an amnesty]. That is very good. And that it has been proposed to be as wide as possible" Pujol assessed, at the same time noting that "there is a part of Spanish political opinion that does not see it well, not only in the PP, but also the Socialists". Also in the area of justice, he affirmed. In this regard, ex-president Pujol also mentioned former Spanish prime minister and ex-Socialist leader Felipe González, about whom he says he is "surprised" by his head-on stance against the amnesty: "I was sorry", he stated regretfully, while at the same time noting that he has always had "a very good opinion" the 1980s Spanish PM, and that the political transition was possible thanks to people like him, like Adolfo Suárez and like Santiago Carrillo. "Lately, this has all fallen apart a bit, speaking of the Socialist world. The UCD [centrist party] no longer exists, and in some sectors of the PP that you can identify, it has also fallen apart. And the PCE [Communist party] no longer has the importance it had then. Overall, the whole thing has become a little unstable", explained Pujol.

"We have to negotiate, or we won't get anywhere"

On the other hand, ex-president Pujol stated that negotiations with Madrid must be held, because the alternative, relying on "all or nothing", "will not get us anywhere", he asserted, giving a precise quote of a recent statement by Joan B. Culla. In this regard, Pujol argued that we must be aware of "what kind of country we are, and what problems we face, within Catalonia, in Spain and in Europe", so that "we know how to draw appropriate conclusions". "We cannot do without Madrid, or Europe, or the world. We are something very small, but everything that happens in the world, such as the evolution of the economy or migration, has an influence here," he pointed out. Regarding the agreement recently reached between the Catalan pro-independence parties and Pedro Sánchez's PSOE in the framework of the investiture, Pujol considers that "everything that is an improvement, big or small, is a good deal". "What we need is more than what the Spanish point of view wants to give us. But the negotiating attitude is good," he argued.

The former president also argued that "Spain is a very important country", so that manoeuvring within the Spanish state "requires a lot of strategy", leaving no room for "improvisation". Starting from this premise, Pujol urges "not to lose sight of reality", the "context" and "our possibilities", because, he warns, "it is dangerous" to do so. Nevertheless, the former president assessed that "we have come further than we thought, things have not gone negatively" for the country during the last decades. Asked if Spain had been disdained, Pujol said that "recently we embarked on a difficult operation" and added that "sometimes you have to put an ambitious project on the table". Of course, "we must know how to calibrate, organize well, place ourselves in our situation, that of Catalonia". It is a country, says the former president, which "isn't a simple thing, it cannot make decisions happily". But also a country that "mustn't surrender to any external imposition", he asserted.

"Catalonia has its identity threatened"

Jordi Pujol also spoke about the problems facing Catalonia, emphasizing that "our identity is under threat", beyond "questions of money or [political] competences". The former president highlighted the question of the Catalan language, "highly threatened". On this, Pujol recalled a sentence that PP and Socialist deputies told him long ago, that Catalan nationalism would not exist in 40 years. "We were able to negotiate on other occasions in Madrid and defend our identity. We always did that. Negotiating with UCD, the PSOE and then the PP. And it wasn't easy, not everyone accepted everything within the parties," he explained.

"We could not have done some things without the opposition"

Regarding the deal-making and pro-negotiation attitude that the ex-president praises, Pujol assures that "we would not have been able to do some things without the opposition", and thus considers some of the achievements of Catalonia during his governments of the 80s and 90s as a "collective merit" . "We could not have gone so far alone. Capabilities for collaboration existed. And it was to everyone's credit. Such as the creation of [Catalan public broadcaster] TV3, credit also to UCD and the  PSOE," he said. He adds, however, that in Madrid they wanted practically "a folkloric TV channel". "And we said no, a TV station like any European country's. We have always had difficulties," he said. "Catalonia, through all kinds of people, also ERC, the [Catalan communist] PSUC, Socialists and more, all these have contributed to our making very great progress. From the end of the Franco era until now, Catalonia has progressed in a substantial way", concluded the former president.