Pedro Sanchez He met Perry Aragones last Thursday at the General State Palace in a meeting that led to the signing of five agreements and the opening of a new cycle of relations between the two governments. But the relationship between the two presidents is not new, but rather comes from afar. In fact, December this year marked four years since their first meeting. At that time, they had five face-to-face meetings and established a relationship of ups and downs, but with mutual benefits.
Their first meeting on December 1, 2019 was secret. Very few people knew about it and it wasn't announced until a month later. They met in Moncloa to begin their agreement ERC And the PSOE To install Sanchez, through which the dialogue table will be established. So that no one would doubt his trip to Madrid Aragones, a meeting with the ERC Group was organized at the conference on the second day. That was to mislead. The important appointment was the day before. For many years, the ERC and PSOE supported each other, but they needed each other. Sanchez's socialists and Republicans are investing in trying to remove the process from the courts.
Aragonés was then deputy head of government, but in reality he served as leader of the ERC because Oriol Junqueras was in prison and Marta Rovira was in Switzerland. On that day, two of the presidents' closest collaborators, Iván Redondo and Raúl Murcia, were also there in Moncloa. “There was a lot of mistrust, but the alternative was a blockade,” recalls one ERC leader. The foundations of the relationship have been laid.
Two presidents and amnesty.
If there was anything that complicated the relationship early on, it was that Aragonés was not yet president of the State-General, but rather vice-president. This means that between him and Sánchez, in terms of protocol, there was Quim Torra who was not in favor of dialogue between governments and giving wings to the negotiation strategy adopted by the European Reform Council. This, and also the emergence of the pandemic, made it difficult to meet the dialogue table, which was frozen for more than a year between its first meeting – February 26, 2020, Madrid – until the second – September 15, 2021 in Barcelona.
This paralysis complicated the life of Esquerra, who had problems justifying her agreements with the PSOE. In general, relations between the Socialist Workers' Party and the ERC began to bear fruit. The Socialists won the first Republican support for public budgets in more than a decade, while the ERC saw the approval of amnesties and the release of pro-independence leaders from prison. In addition, Aragonés became president, which facilitated dialogue. There were two meetings very close to each other, in June 2021 and in September of the same year. The relationship has been strengthened.
Pegasus complicates everything
The most sensitive moment came on April 18, 2022, when The New Yorker magazine published that sixty independence activists had been spied on using the Israeli “Pegasus” program. Aragones found it difficult to continue defending dialogue with a state that was allegedly spying on its own people Citizens. Including himself, even if it was with judicial permission. In addition, the Minister of Defense and political leader of the CNI, Margarita Robles, enthusiastically supported the wiretapping operation. But also this obstacle in his relationship with Sánchez was left behind, among other things, because the Prime Minister was also spied on. They resumed relations with a meeting in July 2022 with the most ambitious goal until then of the dejudicialization of the process: the abolition of the crime of sedition, which It will be approved in December. In the same month, the Equity and Reconciliation Commission will contribute to the third state budget in three years.
If the relationship between Sanchez and Aragones is successful, it is not because they have fallen out better or worse, although they maintain a smooth relationship and agreed last Thursday how cordial their meeting was. If it works, it is for the common good. Sánchez was able to use the votes of the ERC for four years to govern with a certain amount of stability, and Aragonés made progress on judicial disengagements such as pardons, repeal of sedition, and amnesty processing.
In theory, this scheme of exchanges should survive the next legislature, but again there will be hurdles to avoid. The first, which the ERC has to share with together Their prominence in Congress – both groups are crucial – undermines part of the power that Republicans enjoy in the period 2019-2023. Second, we must see to what extent Sánchez can continue to negotiate concessions in Aragones – Rodales, a minimum living income, or a multilingual law – without undermining Salvador Illa’s aspirations (sun) to be the next president of the generalitats.
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