Representatives of the PSOE and Junts met this Saturday near Geneva (Switzerland) in the first of the meetings planned in the pact of both parties for the investiture of Pedro Sánchez with the aim of channeling the Catalan sovereignty conflict. The meeting was of a technical nature and served to address the work methodology and the coordinator of the international verification mechanism in charge of ensuring compliance with the agreements, who will be the Salvadoran diplomat Francisco Galindo.

The figure of the coordinator of the verification mechanism, less interventionist than a mediator or a rapporteur, is responsible for attesting to everything discussed and corroborating that the agreements are being fulfilled. According to a joint note from both parties, Galindo has already participated in this Saturday’s meeting, where the parties have thanked him for his “commitment” to “make available his experience and his will to reach a political and negotiated solution to the conflict.”

Francisco Galindo Vélez (San Salvador, 1955) has a degree in Legal Sciences and has postgraduate studies at the University of New York, the University of Geneva and the Geneva Institute of Higher International Studies. He has been ambassador of El Salvador in France and Colombia, as well as representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in his country and regional representative for Central America.

The meetings, expected to be monthly, will take place in parallel with the processing and approval of the amnesty law that should allow the return of Carles Puigdemont to Spain and will have as a backdrop the partisan struggle: the PP and Vox harshly attack the negotiation, which has also become a new axis of competition between Junts and ERC for independence hegemony.

Having confirmed the remote positions from which PSOE and Junts start, this Saturday’s meeting has served to address the team of people and the international coordinator of the “accompaniment, verification and monitoring mechanism” of the negotiation that both parties agreed to in exchange for the investiture of Sánchez.

Despite the secrecy that has surrounded the first meeting between the PSOE and Junts, the initial positions of the negotiation are well known. Both parties expressed their disagreements in the document from last November in which they agreed to invest the socialist candidate as president of the Government.

Regarding the resolution of the sovereignty dispute, Junts is betting on the referendum, while the PSOE rejects it and is betting on the development of the Statute. In terms of financing, those from Puigdemont demand the management of all taxes collected in the community, an extreme that is not shared by the socialists, who advocate improving the financial autonomy of Catalonia.

The secretary of organization of the socialists, Santos Cerdán, stated that the meeting “went well” and took place in a cordial atmosphere. “It went well, it was a working meeting,” Cerdán told journalists at the Geneva airport this Saturday, EFE reports.

Multiple tables

Since the election night of July 23, Junts has returned to the center of the political picture after months of irrelevance. A few weeks after the pact with the PSOE, Puigdemont himself has taken it upon himself to remember that Sánchez cannot take his endorsement of the Government’s budgets or laws for granted, but that Junts’ support is conditional on progress in the negotiation.

To have a vision of the complete picture, we must not forget the relentless competition between Junts and ERC, which may intensify in the face of the battle for the Generalitat in the Catalan elections scheduled for February 2025.

For now, the duel between Junts and ERC has resulted in the creation of separate negotiation tables between the two parties and the PSOE, both with international verification, to which we must add the dialogue table between the Generalitat and the Government. The pre-electoral environment makes it difficult to unify the tables, since each pro-independence party wants to set its own profile.

This Saturday, the leader of ERC, Oriol Junqueras, has vindicated the negotiating work of his formation in the face of Junts’ refusal, until now, to reach agreements with the PSOE. In recent years, he has highlighted, ERC has “fought against repression” to “get out those who were in jail.” “What we have done in recent years is what has opened the way to amnesty,” he added.

For her part, the president of the commons in the Parliament, Jéssica Albiach, has asked that the different dialogue tables of ERC and Junts with the PSOE “not start competing” and has encouraged their cooperation. Otherwise, she has warned, “all the effort we have all made to reach” the negotiation will have been of no use.

Despite its European failure a few days ago, the PP has insisted on its tough opposition and has advocated transferring the negotiations between PSOE and Junts to the community institutions. The president of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, has asked the spokespersons in the Congress, Senate and European Parliament to activate “any parliamentary mechanism to force the Government” to report the content of this Saturday’s meeting in Switzerland.


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