Thursday, December 2

Raquel Sánchez: “We have 20 days to negotiate on El Prat, but I see little margin”


-Can the current ‘no’ be redirected to go ahead now with the expansion of El Prat?

-That depends on the Government of the Generalitat. The Government has been clear from the beginning, has explained the proposal and has always considered that it was absolutely necessary that it be a country agreement, and that it not be understood as a project of the Government of Spain but as a project for Spain and Catalonia and therefore required the consensus of both institutions. It has been the Government that has made it impossible due to its internal division and therefore it is up to him to redirect, clarify and mature his decision. In any case, we also have to bear in mind that these investments have to be approved and collected before the end of September. It seems difficult that they are going to redirect their position and more after listening to the reactions of the president of the Generalitat and some members of the Government and some political formations, specifically, ERC, which is part of the Government.

– In any case, would there still be room for dialogue until September 30?

-If the Government of the Generalitat, and in the mouth of its president, state that they accept and ratify the agreement that was reached on August 2, we would maintain the agreement in its terms to expand El Prat minimizing the ecological impact on the lagoon of La Ricarda.

-You and the president of Aena They have implied that the expansion of El Prat has been suspended for up to five years, when a new Airport Regulation Document (DORA) has to be approved, but I understand from their words that it does not have to be that way …

– Obviously, if we lose the opportunity to incorporate it into the DORA that has to be approved in the Council of Ministers at the end of September, we will have to wait for the next one, in five years.

-Then, there are still 20 days to negotiate …

-There are still 20 days, that’s the way it is, to get to that Council of Ministers. But it is that listening to the manifestations of the president of the Generalitat and of different members of the Government we do not see margin for that either.

-Can’t you also blame that lack of unity that you detect in the Government? The second vice president of the Government, Yolanda Díaz, maintains that the work in El Prat is incompatible with the climate emergency.

-You need to do a lot of pedagogy to explain that this project does not go against the commitments made in the fight against climate change. We must continue investing in infrastructures like these, which are an economic engine for. And this is compatible with respecting the environment, making the natural area of ​​La Ricarda what could have been a benchmark for the recovery of habitats. It is not contradictory at all.

– They will have to do this pedagogy also within the Council of Ministers, right?

-We have been explaining this project since 2019 and it is now when we had to begin to specify those environmental compensations that had been put on the table. We were not going to present a project that was not endorsed by the European Union.

-How did you experience this dissent? Have you been in contact with members of the Government?

– I have had contacts with the vice president, with Puigneró, and I have verified that fracture and division.

Is a tweet from Aragonès enough to break the pact they reached in August?

It is a tweet from the president of the Generalitat, clearly and explicitly distancing himself from the agreement that had been reached. And that tweet from President Aragonès has been followed by many more demonstrations, statements against, ambiguities. I believe that the rupture, the fracture, the mess, the internal chaos of the Government of the Generalitat have become very clearly visible. We cannot advance a project under those conditions.

Oriol Junqueras He already anticipated in an interview with EL PERIÓDICO that the Government was going to withdraw the investment in El Prat, blaming the Government of Aragonès for it and that it was going to do so to avoid a subsequent setback from the European Comission for environmental reasons. Is there this fold?

-It is not true. Junqueras was radically opposing the expansion of the airport and therefore he anticipated what they were trying to do with their statement. If in the end you are boycotting and bombing an agreement, then obviously the reaction and the consequence in a risk analysis is easy to determine. But I insist that it has always been our will that this project be carried out. We have always been committed to making exquisite treatment from an environmental point of view. We have published all the documentation so that you know how the process has been.

-The businessmen ask them to dialogue and agree. Do you plan to call the president to speak?

-Well, if necessary I will. I have no problem. But what I have to do is ask the Government to clarify, to say if it is in favor of this project or not. I will speak as many times as necessary.

-What will happen to those 1,700 million that were going to be invested in El Prat in the event that there is no agreement with the Government? Would they reorient themselves to other plans?

-For the most part, no. A nuance, to explain how this works: The vast majority of that investment is not budgets that exist now, because Aena’s investments are financed with the airport fees that are entered during the period.

-Will the infrastructures related to the expansion be paralyzed?

-Absolutely. And that is a sign of the Government’s total commitment to Catalonia, to continue investing in necessary infrastructures. The connection with the Girona airport is maintained, with a project of 55 million, and the improvement of the rail link in Reus, which is another 40 million.

-Will this climate of tension over El Prat condition the bipartisan dialogue table and the negotiation of the State Budgets?

-I hope not. They are tables in which different questions are discussed. I trust that the will for dialogue that we had recovered, or so it seemed, on the part of the Government, is going to be maintained. Of course, on the part of the Government it is maintained.

-How can two parties who say they have lost mutual trust sit down?

-We have lost confidence in this project. But there are many more issues that can be discussed. But this project is paralyzed or suspended.

– And the Diada, does not add more tension in the face of that dialogue table?

– On the part of the central government it will not be like that. The climate is one of negotiation and agreement. Reclaim the space of politics. We owe it to all the Catalans and the Catalans who would not understand if it were not like that. On the part of the central government it will not remain.

-One of the issues that will be on the table for dialogue is the transfer of the financing of the stands. Is this transfer quantified?

-Not yet. The Joint Commission for Economic and Fiscal Affairs must set the terms of the agreement.

Will the Budgets for 2022 comply with the third additional provision on investments in Catalonia?

-For 2022, our will, as it cannot be otherwise, is to comply with the agreements and provisions of the Statute regarding the investments that the State has to make in Catalonia. Not only in Catalonia, but also in other autonomous communities, such as Andalusia, whose statutes also comply with certain levels of investment.


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