The dialogue table with Catalonia is actually the Government’s dialogue table with half of half of Catalonia. To get started. The independence movement that governs the Generalitat attends the meeting this afternoon in Barcelona divided, nothing new, perhaps the formal confirmation that after Junts’ pick-up, the table is a ‘you to you’ between the PSOE and ERC, with the commons in engine lubrication mode.
Those from Puigdemont, skilled in tactical play, a legacy of the old CiU, have achieved what they have been working on all summer: to make it clear that today’s meeting is not a bilateral negotiation between governments -as ERC proclaims and Sánchez accepts why not
It is left to another – but the exchange resulting from the investiture agreement between Republicans and Socialists.
In the background, the strategy of those who escaped to Belgium involves painting republicans as the altar boys of Sánchez and Illa, docile neo-autonomists ready for a reissue of the left tripartite that, although now it seems a very distant horizon, is the only feasible alternative to the continuity of the pro-independence executives that Catalonia has suffered since the last decade. It is not difficult for that image to catch on in the imagination of the more ‘hardcore’ “indepes” when the person who sits today at the table set up in Palau is a representation of the PSOE / PSC, ERC and Podemos / Comunes.
The offers of the PSC to ERC to support the Generalitat’s budgets in exchange for disengaging from the support of the CUP -which conditions its vote to veto projects such as the Airport- go in that direction. The drama is that, despite the punch on the table by Aragonès in front of the joys of Junts, the gesture will probably remain in that, in a gesture. If it already seems difficult that the CUP will be dispensed with to approve the accounts, it is more difficult for ERC to dare to break with Junts. They are not yet ripe for that. Perhaps after the municipal spring of 2023, and depending on how they go, the scenario may change.
In Palau they assure that the crisis with Junts is only a stone in the way, and that the continuity of the bipartisan executive is not in question. That’s how it is. Continuity in the medium term is as assured – too many things to lose on the part of each other – as the realization that those of Puigdemont, mujahideen of the ‘procés’, are going to make the same type of knife-in-mouth opposition from within the executive than during the tripartite years. Nobody remembers it, but CiU’s opposition to Maragall, and especially Montilla, had a “gangsta” flavor.
The only difference with those years is that now Junts and ERC sit at the same table of the ‘executive council’, and call each other partners. ERC, despite gestures like yesterday’s, keeps swallowing. The legislature has only just begun.