Originally published on Vilaweb, March 17, 2013
The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, met with his cabinet yesterday in the Pedralbes Palace in Barcelona after having called off the economic and social policy summit. The purpose of the unusual meeting was to make a plan to confront the "national state of emergency" and the president's directives were clear: an "educational campaign" must be undertaken to help the citizenry understand the devastating economic reality of the country, all lines of communication with the Spanish government must be reopened, and a calendar of political action based on social policy initiatives must be laid out.
According to some media sources reporting today, including La Vanguardia and Catalunya Ràdio, the meeting lasted for more than four hours and its principal objectives were to analyze the economic and political situation. The president was clear with his councillors and indicated to them that they must open "all possible lines of communication" with the Spanish government, and pointed to recent agreements with the Ministries of Agriculture and Public Works as examples to follow. Finally, he suggested the promotion in the second half of the year of a calendar of political and legislative action centered basically on social policy initiatives to fight against the ill effects of the crisis on the most disadvantaged. The referendum on sovereignty was only mentioned in passing, when Mas remarked on the inviolability of two goals: the maintenance of the welfare state and the right to self-determination.
President Mas also criticized the opposition parties, who he accused of avoiding getting their hands dirty in the current difficult situation and instead of taking advantage of the discontent that the budget cuts generate. Among the measures that Mas proposed to the councillors was a concerted effort to educate the citizenry on the perilous economic situation that the country finds itself in, by explaining the fiscal deficit that Catalonia suffers and the monstrous debt that the Catalan government is carrying.