'Spanish government is committed to reconciliation' with Catalonia, says president Sánchez
Executive to make a decision on pardon of jailed leaders once reports are received
"From the beginning, the government has not hidden its intentions," Spanish president Pedro Sánchez stated on Tuesday. "The government is clearly committed to a reunion, to reconciliation, and to harmony in Catalonia and between Catalonia and the rest of Spain."
Speaking at a press conference following the last cabinet meeting of the year, Sánchez called on everyone to "learn, look ahead and to find a meeting point" because, he said, "when we talk about Catalonia, no one is free from blame."
As for whether his cabinet will pardon Catalonia's jailed independence leaders, sentenced to up to 13 years behind bars in 2019 for sedition for organizing the 2017 referendum, Sánchez said they would make a decision once the reports on the matter have been received.
"Pardon proceedings involve a series of reports—from the public prosecutor, the attorney general, the Supreme Court that are sent to the cabinet," he explained. "That is when I will announce my position."
This statement comes a week after the public prosecutor flatly rejected pardoning the imprisoned politicians and activists on the grounds that there are no reasons relating to "justice, equity or utility". The same is expected of the Supreme Court.
Criminal code reform
The Spanish government, which was set to move forward with a criminal code reform that would alter the crime of sedition by the end of the year, may be pursuing the change in 2021 after all.
When asked, Sánchez said the goal was to be able to present the amendment "next year." "It must be the year we update the criminal code and standardize it with those of the European countries or democracies we wish to resemble."