The Ministry of Transport believes that there is no going back. The agreement on Aena’s investments for the next five years, from 2022 to 2026, will be approved -if not before- at the last Council of Ministers this September, due to the needs of the entire administrative machinery. Sources close to the minister, Raquel Sánchez, point out that “there’s little chance they’ll back down, because there is no unity of criteria in the Government itself, but if we return to the pact of August 2, it could still be done “.
That two-week ultimatum, transmitted to the Catalan Government, as this newspaper has learned, sounds like the last chance. If Pere Aragonès continue “without respecting the agreement reached by the minister and her vice president, Jordi Puigneró last August 2“, the 1.7 billion euros planned to expand the airport facilities and turn them into a real hub international will end up in other destinations.
In fact, the official position of the Government of Spain is that the opportunity is already lost, although it opens a ray of hope under the table… precisely one week after the resumption of contacts in the so-called Dialogue, Negotiation and Pact Table.
The Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda publicly insisted this Thursday that the reason that the reason for the paralysis of investments is none other than the division that exists within the Government of the Generalitat … although she said to maintain her “offer of dialogue and commitment to Catalonia “. The former mayor of Gavà tried to wink, although his department transmitted to this newspaper “the incongruity of a president that makes a critical Twitter thread with a meeting in which he was not even “.
The sources refer to the criticisms launched by Aragonès to the DORA (Document of Airport Regulation). The head of the Catalan Government accused Aena of not having respected “the consensus established in the ‘yes’ of the Government” to the project. “But it is that what was presented in that meeting It was the agreement negotiated on August 2 by Minister Sánchez and the ‘vice president’ Puigneró“, says this spokesman for Transport.” That same phrase already makes it clear that the problem lies within the coalition between ERC and Junts. “
The AORA DORA that has been made public today does not reflect the consensus established within the Government: to ensure investment without giving anything away and to define the next steps with a broad agreement of all administrations.
– Pere Aragonès i Garcia 🎗 (@perearagones) September 3, 2021
Something very similar revealed Jordi Sànchez at a press conference from Brussels. The general secretary of Carles Puigdemont’s party made balances before the media to blame the situation, above all, on the Government of Spain and “the null ability to keep his word”, and not let his rival escape for independence supremacy.
“If they betray a 1.7 billion settlement reached four weeks ago simply by reading a Twitter thread, How can we expect them to respect what is agreed at the table?“, said.
Other sources in the Parliament clarify to this newspaper part of the secrets of what is happening. The expansion of El Prat has been under negotiation since 2019 … when the Generalitat was still chairing Chem Roastby Junts. And the agreement was closed by another ex-convergent politician, Puigneró, number two in the Government.
“If it was not closed before, it is because ERC was where Junts is now, and whoever has taken it over now is once again the doubts of the Republicans,” a senior PSC official pointed out to this newspaper. “It is Esquerra that has internal problems with this issue, and it is Esquerra that has a pact with the CUP, which is not Junts “.
… that is to say, that the categorical “no” of the anti-system independentistas to the enlargement has scared Esquerra. To the point that its spokesperson, Marta Vilalta, announced that ERC joined the demonstration on September 19 against the expansion of the airport that its Government supported. Only two hours later, the minister announced that the investment was being withdrawn.
Speaking to La Sexta, the head of Transportation explained this Thursday, underlining that the Government continues to prioritize all investments committed to Catalonia, “which is the economic engine of Spain”. But that, at this time, the conditions are not in place to expand the airport in the terms that had been initially proposed.
The controversy broke out a few days after the Diada, once again the center of the independence demands. And again divided between those who refuse to accept “the patrimonialization of the feast of all Catalans” and those who need a powerful mobilization to arrive strong at the Table next week.
“The mobilization is less than in other years,” say sources from Transportes, “I do not think that this allows them to become the victims, because it is their own voters who blame them for missing this huge opportunity“. The reading is interested, of course, and coincides with the messages sent by Moncloa since the return of summer, which seek to cool the affair Catalan and feed the divisions within the independence movement.
But something did coincide with Jordi Sànchez and Pere Aragonès in his statements this Thursday. In that the decision to stop El Prat is “blackmail” or a “pressure” maneuver -that is the nuance- for bring them weak to the table and that in this one “it is spoken of things that do not touch, like investments and transfers”.
According to the Government, and so agreed by President Sánchez and the president Aragonès on June 29, the bilateral Catalonia-State commission is in charge of these aspects. AND the Table “is only for the political conflict”. Sources from the ERC management point out that Moncloa “is looking for excuses not to talk about self-determination and amnesty, which is our proposal, because it does not seem that they have any “.
There is no unity on the Madrid side either. Neither in El Prat nor in the Table agree PSOE and United We Can. For the “political conflict”, the purple ones defend positions very similar to the Government, that the solution is “a referendum for the Catalans to decide their future.” And at the airport, this Thursday the vice president Yolanda Diaz He visited the La Ricarda lagoon and expressed his satisfaction with the stoppage of investment to expand the airport.
Only that could console the internal tensions of the Government, since Esquerra cannot criticize Sánchez without agreeing to Junts. AND Junts can’t force Republicans to break their pact in Congress without, as a consequence, the Government falling as well. And although Puigdemont wishes with all his might that his party return to separatist primacy, the political moment is not yet.
That will come in two years, when the prediction of the ex-president fled, the “inevitable confrontation with the State” due to his “non-existent will to agree on a political solution to the conflict.” Something that is signed in the agreement of the Government. And something that, according to Sànchez, was demonstrated with the decision not to expand El Prat.
… although all that argumentation of internal fight, they say in Madrid, show that it is the Government that makes it almost impossible to fulfill the agreement. Although in Barcelona they already know that They have 15 days, and a table in between.
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