We need to talk means that both of you are looking for a solution, but you don’t know exactly what to do. It seems that ERC does not intend to bring Sánchez down because he believes that -at least- he is the Spanish president with whom, today, he can negotiate the most. And that Sánchez, despite the fact that Frankenstein is tough, still wants to govern with the support of the progressive majority. If so, both may have been wrong. The secret services are not, in any country, the sector of public administration that is most prone to transparency. They must always comply with the law, of course, but we are dealing with a delicate and dangerous material and it must be taken into account.

The first mistake was made by the Sánchez government. When in July 2020 it was learned that the phones of the then President of the Parliament, Roger Torrent, and Ernest Maragall had been controlled – a scandal that did not go any further – the Government should have taken note and drawn – perhaps discreetly – the consequences timely. In any case, he could not be surprised by the publication in ‘The New Yorker’ of a university investigation that originated then and that brought to light the espionage of 60 independentistas.

The second error is from Pere Aragonès. He had every right -even the duty- to complain about the violation of the rights to communications and privacy. And to insist on a parliamentary investigation commission. But turning the outrage into an immediate crisis of the first level, voting against the urgent economic measures and demanding the head of Margarita Robles, was to place Pedro Sánchez -and himself- in a perhaps dead end. Crises between allies – even if they are not friends – are resolved by agreeing to some arrangement. Or breaking. But threatening a weakened president from the outset with liquidating the pact if the Defense Minister does not resign – in the midst of the war in Ukraine and a month before the important NATO summit in Madrid – could close the path to other solutions.

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And espionage always smells bad. A Supreme Court judge had authorized it to 18 independentistas that many have turned out to be – like Aragonès – elected officials of the Generalitat. Maybe it’s legal, but it still smells bad. And what happened to the other 42 spies? All suspicions are possible. Bad business.

But a poisoned topic demands the utmost caution. And the government made another mistake. Complaining to the courts that the phone of the president and the defense minister had been looted makes no sense. Raise the noise about the spies and perhaps the only thing that was intended was the dismissal of some CNI position. It was a worrying failure, but publicizing it and denouncing it before the National High Court fixes little. The only effective measure that the judge can take is to order the CNI to investigate what happened, something that the government could already do directly.

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Increasing the size of the scandal does not seem to have helped resolve the crisis. In similar cases, other countries react more cautiously. It was learned that the president Macron, and some of his ministers, were also spied on with Pegasus. They must have fixed it, but it was never confirmed.

I fear that Pedro Sánchez and Pere Aragonès have aggravated -due to excessive gestures- an already serious crisis and scandalous from which neither of them will benefit.


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