An act of homage to the composer Pau Casals in the abbey of Sant Miquel de Cuixà, in the French town of Codalet, near Prada de Conflent, in Northern Catalonia, has served to bring together the president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, and his predecessors Jordi Pujol, José Montilla, Carles Puigdemont and Quim Torra. The image is unpublished. It is the first time they are seen together. But it has also been a meeting that has attracted attention for another reason: it is Puigdemont's first public act, outside of Belgium, since the General Court of the European Union (TGUE) withdrew his immunity. All the presidents have greeted each other. Aragonès and Puigdemont had not seen each other in person since May 2022.
Former president Puigdemont attended the event, which was also attended by the abbot of Montserrat, Manel Gasch, and the professor of Music History at the University of Barcelona, Jaume Carbonell, as part of the 55th edition of the Catalan University of Summer (UCE). Artur Mas was unable to attend due to personal issues, and Pasqual Maragall due to health reasons.
He announced his presence on Saturday, making it clear that he would not make any statements before or after the tribute, and without any fear of being arrested: the examining magistrate in the 1-O case, Pablo Llarena, decided not to issue new Euro arrest warrants until the highest European instance, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) does not definitively resolve the precautionary measures that both the former Catalan president and the former minister Toni Comín will request to maintain the immunity of the European Parliament or not. Since the TGUE ruling they have two months to do so.
The appointment has taken place at a time when the negotiations for the possible investiture of Pedro Sánchez are just beginning. All the presidents have taken the floor during the act, ending Aragonès and Puigdemont their respective parliaments with a “Visca Catalunya lliure”. It has been an act of homage to Casals, but also a meeting of national claim and Catalan identity, with the composer's speech at the UN headquarters in 1971, well present. In it, Casals highlighted peace as a priority objective, but also defended the Catalan institutions, when Franco's dictatorship was coming to an end. "I'm a Catalan," he said as soon as he started his speech in New York.
Aragonès has remembered Casals in his turn to speak. He has been greeted with cries of "independence." “It is always nice to remember the goal for which we are fighting”, he replied. The president has assured that the "repression still persists, to the point that it affects president Puigdemont." "And I want to welcome you", said the head of the Government. "We have a political conflict pending to be resolved that is not because of the repression, but because of the State's inability to recognize the right to self-determination," he pointed out while reaffirming the amnesty and a referendum as ways to overcome the conflict.
Puigdemont's speech, for his part, has resounded in the recent negotiations on the Parliamentary Table. Junts voted in favor of the presidency of the socialist Francina Armengol after obtaining a commitment from the PSOE to claim the official status of Catalan, Basque and Galician in the European Union. Thus, Puigdemont has praised Pau Casals for not having sought any "personal outlet" throughout history, but for thinking "in the country". "When we ask that Catalan be a language of Europe, a living language alongside the others, we do so following the same thread as the generations that preceded us, but thinking of others and not only of us, in the same way that Pau Casals, without looking for a personal outlet for himself", he clarified.
Pujol, in his speech, highlighted the facet of Casals as a "preacher of peace", but also a "preacher of hope". He has considered that today the Catalan identity is threatened. Against this, Pujol has encouraged the defense of the Catalan language, "key to maintaining identity." “You have to keep your spirits, faith and hope; We have the obligation to maintain our identity ”, he added before making a subsection to express, in terms of language, his “particular recognition” of Puigdemont.
At the time of the Montilla parliament, the attendees have uttered cries of “independence”. The former socialist president has stressed that the presidents of the Generalitat represent the expression "of a plural and diverse society that aspires to self-government" to improve the lives of citizens. But he has been whistled when he has opted for "a fraternal Spain, respectful of diversity and capable of managing its plurality". "You cannot build a nation by denying a part of the citizenry their right to belong to it simply because they understand their identity national in a different way", he stated, something that has led to a show of discontent among the public present.
Lastly, Torra has highlighted "the humanity of Casals", but has also resorted to his figure to affirm that for the composer "freedom is indivisible". “Either you are free or you are not. He is not on the list of former presidents because his code of morality would not have allowed him to. Who knows what would have happened if he had been the president and not Tarradellas ”, he said.