Catalan president warns funding and more autonomy 'will not resolve conflict' with Spain

Pere Aragonès says dialogue table must focus on options that allow Catalans to vote

Catalan president Pere Aragonès in an interview with the Catalan News Agency
Catalan president Pere Aragonès in an interview with the Catalan News Agency / Jordi Borràs
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

December 28, 2023 09:51 AM

December 28, 2023 12:53 PM

Catalan president Pere Aragonès warned Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez that a fiscal reform or a new statute of autonomy will not be discussed at the dialogue table because they do not resolve the political conflict in Catalonia.

"The dialogue table is for resolving the conflict, which cannot be resolved with a financing agreement," he said in an interview with the Catalan News Agency (ACN).

Aragonès emphasized that the dialogue table is only meant to resolve the conflict and that solutions that "do not allow an independence vote," such as financing or an autonomy reform, should not be discussed at the dialogue table.

"We need to make a very clear distinction between the resolution of the political conflict and other equally important debates. They are two completely separate issues," he said.

Aragonès and Sánchez clash over referendum

Sánchez and Aragonès agreed to convene the dialogue table in the first quarter of 2024 after a landmark meeting in Barcelona last week.

After the meeting, Pedro Sánchez stressed his "total willingness" to resolve the political conflict in Catalonia, but rejected the independence referendum as a solution. Instead, he advocated promoting self-government and providing more funding to Catalonia.

In reply, Aragonès emphasized his commitment to a referendum, saying that the conditions to make it possible must be agreed upon during Sánchez's term. "We will defend our solution to the political conflict: a referendum on self-determination in Catalonia," he said.

'Unbearable' fiscal deficit

Aragonès has described Catalonia's fiscal deficit as "unbearable," but even if it were to end, he said, the political problem would not be solved.

"Financing and economic measures will not resolve the conflict; it is resolved through voting," he said.

The Catalan president emphasized that the most "relevant" matter is to end the anomaly that Catalonia is the third territory that contributes the most to Spain, but ranks 10th in receiving.

He stressed the importance of addressing this fiscal "excess" and focusing the debate on the benefits to citizens.