The next session of the dialogue table between the Spanish and Catalan governments has been missing a date. And it is still missing one. Since his speech on the subject at Christmas, Catalan president Pere Aragonès has reiterated the need to return to the organ of negotiation created by the two governments to discuss the political conflict. But from the Spanish government palace they continue to postpone it sine die. Today it was the minister-spokesperson Isabel Rodríguez who assured that it will meet "when there are significant agreements" to be debated and approved. Meanwhile, the only firm date is that of the bilateral commission between the two governments, which deals with more day-to-day issues between the two administrations, and will meet next Friday, February 18th in Barcelona, after the elections in the autonomous community of Castilla y León.
In the press conference after today's cabinet meeting, Isabel Rodríguez said that dialogue is the "brand" of the central executive, and that it is "proud to have recovered dialogue with the Generalitat of Catalonia" and to have returned to a situation of "normality". It has been "reaffirmed" in this commitment through the various bodies of bilateral dialogue. However, when asked about the date of the next meeting of the negotiating table, she limited herself to saying that "it will be held when we have relevant agreements to take to it."
He was also asked if this dialogue table, which has not met since last September's session in Barcelona, could affect the presence of president Aragonès at the conference of autonomous presidents, to be held on 25th February on La Palma island in the Canaries. The Socialist politician stated that all regional leaders are expected to participate, including the president of Catalonia. She emphasised how all 17 communities and the two autonomous cities have taken part in the preparatory meetings.
"We hope that they will participate because we will be addressing important issues: not just the situation of the pandemic, but above all economic recovery, the deployment of the European funds and the essential participation of the autonomous communities in this task," said Isabel Rodríguez, who concluded: "Here Catalonia, like the rest of the autonomous communities, has a very important role to play."
Catalan government: "It can't be put off any further"
It was several days ago that the Moncloa government palace began saying that the meeting of the dialogue table will be postponed until spring, at least. The Catalan government's response is to say that the matter is urgent. Last week, Catalan business minister Roger Torrent said that "it can't be put off any further because there will be no more historic opportunities like this." For her part, the Catalan government spokesperson, Patricia Plaja, had already taken it for granted that a meeting date for January had been missed but said that her government "was expecting it to be at the beginning of the year".
When the creation of the dialogue table was first agreed by Pedro Sánchez's Socialists with ERC in early January 2020, the document signed by the two parties agreed that meetings on the political conflict would begin within two weeks and would take place monthly. Twenty-five months have gone by since then. The table has met twice.