ERC walks away from government Covid meeting calling for end to leaks

Party calls for a ‘loyalty pact’ from governing partners JxCat, affirming it’s about ‘saving lives’ and not ‘generating more confusion’

Vice president Pere Aragonès sits at his computer during a conference call in October, 2020 (image from vice president's office)
Vice president Pere Aragonès sits at his computer during a conference call in October, 2020 (image from vice president's office) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

November 18, 2020 02:16 PM

Government ERC members that were participating in the executive committee meeting on how Catalonia will step out of the current Covid-19 measures have walked out of the session on Wednesday demanding that the leaks of the de-escalation plan be stopped.

ERC are calling for a “loyalty pact”from their governing partners Junts per Catalunya, party sources confirmed to the Catalan News Agency. However, JxCat deny that the leaks have come from their part. 

According to ERC, the move is about “saving lives" and not "generating more confusion for citizens."

Since October, strict measures were applied to suppress the spread of the coronavirus, including a 10pm curfew, the partial closure of municipal and regional borders, and the closure of bars and restaurants. 

On Tuesday, it was officially announced that the first set of measures would be de-escalated from Monday, November 23, including the partial reopening of bars and restaurants at 30% capacity.

The conference call meeting was set to be chaired by vice president Pere Aragonès, and to be attended by the government spokesperson, Meritxell Budó; the interior minister, Miquel Sàmper; the minister for health, Alba Vergés; the minister for education, Josep Bargalló; and the territory minister, Damià Calvet.

JxCat deny leaks

Meanwhile, Junts per Catalunya deny that the leaks of the plan came from their members. 

Government sources in the party want to avoid arguments with ERC, after they left the Covid-19 meeting on Wednesday morning.

JxCat were surprised at this reaction, as they claim that they have not sent any draft on the plan to reopen different sectors of the economy to the media. They also said they would not comment on details of any meeting that is not made public.

Civil Protection complaints

The Civil Protection body also complained about the leaks. On Monday afternoon, after a draft of the de-escalation plan was leaked in the morning, deputy director of Civil Protection, Sergio Delgado, criticized what had happened. 

In his opinion, the leaks are a "total disrespect" to the technicians and the work they have been doing for months against the pandemic, but also to the citizens, "who deserve to have certainties and not rumours."

Opposition criticizes “mess”

The opposition has charged against the "mess" of the government in managing the Covid-19 crisis as well as the "partisan struggles" after ERC left the meeting. 

During a parliament plenary session, the leader of Cs, Carlos Carrizosa, said JxCat and ERC have failed the self-employedCarrizosa criticized that Catalans have complied with the restrictions and made the sacrifices that were asked of them, while the Catalan executive "has not paid with the same currency."

Miquel Iceta of the Socialist party affirmed that the opposition is more "responsible" than the executive itself. Iceta called on the government to make an “effort” to convey “certainties and confidence” to citizens, with reliable information and agreement. He also called for planning ahead about how a possible third wave of the pandemic could be dealt with.

Both the Socialist and CatECP leader Jéssica Albiach demanded that the governing parties come to an agreement to last until the next elections and not cause "problems."