On Wednesday, the “negotiations” between the Catalan and Spanish governments resumed after 18 months, with the absence of Spain’s PM Pedro Sánchez, who decided to skip the talks and drink coffee with a colleague in a cafeteria instead. His show of disregard for the people of Catalonia began earlier in the day when he met with Catalan President Pere Aragonès for about two hours to confirm once again his ban on amnesty and self-determination. When asked by a journalist about what he had discussed during their meeting, he said that “the most important thing is the image that I’m here,” confirming that the “dialogue” was rather a photo op aimed at cleaning up his international image and seeking the support of the Republican Left (ERC) for the Spanish budget.
PM Sánchez also confirmed that his proposal for resolving the ongoing conflict was the same one that had already been proposed by many prior administrations for many years: more financial investments. This is a proposal that has never worked and will never do since around 80% of Catalan society is not demanding it, but amnesty and self-determination.
Catalan President Pere Aragonès also skipped the “talks” following the refusal of his counterpart to attend and confirmed that the proposal of his administration would be amnesty and self-determination, despite the Spanish ban on these issues.
The round of “negotiations” between the Catalan and Spanish delegations focused solely on the methodology and an agenda for the next meetings but ended without progress. Both delegations committed themselves to continue “discreet” talks without deadlines, though the agreements made by President Aragonès with his allies specify a deadline of a maximum of two years to get amnesty and self-determination or resume unilateralism. These agreements also include preparations for unilateralism while the negotiations take place.
Due to the attitude of Spain’s PM Pedro Sánchez regarding the people of Catalonia and his unwillingness to resolve the ongoing conflict, the “dialogue/negotiations” are doomed to failure. Only massive continuous pro-independence demonstrations could force his administration to take the Catalan issue more seriously. Until that happens, we will continue observing endless “dialogue” without progress, aimed only at carrying out photo ops.