Anna Erra (Vic, 1965) attends La Vanguardia after being elected, on Friday, president of the Parliament of Catalonia, a position she holds after ten months as an interim in the institution. She has been the vice president of Junts since its foundation and a teacher for more than 20 years. Next week she will leave, after eight years, the mayor's office of Vic.
He will tour Catalonia and wants Parliament to be an institution open to municipalities.
Sometimes it seems to us that the institutions are far away and perhaps the Parliament seems very far away. I come from the local sphere, and one of the things that is most valued is proximity, that the reason for an institution, its relevance and its function is understood. One way to get closer is for them to see you as useful, to listen, to understand what is happening in the towns and what needs there may be; so that this later reaches the groups and we can make laws that improve people's lives.
Are you referring to bringing together parliamentary bodies outside Parliament?
This is an initiative that has already been done on some occasions and I find it interesting. It is a way that it is not seen as an institution that is only in these walls, but also comes closer. But I also see that the presidency covers a lot of territory and is seen as a close institution.
What will mark his presidency? What is your will?
It will be seen. But above all that it is recognized that there is a political conflict. I will ask the deputies for loyalty to the institution in the face of political and legal interference coming from Madrid. We have to keep the sovereignty of Parliament strong. The things that are decided here have to be preserved and maintained. It is not worth the double game that what is not won here politically is left behind and prosecution is sought.
How can it be done?
We know it is a great challenge. We should first recognize that there is such a conflict. If we are all more aware, there will be more strength to preserve what is decided here and ensure that there is freedom and sovereignty in the institution to debate whatever.
Does it question the groups?
Given all the legacy that we carry of judicialization of the institution, it seems to me that it is up to the majority of groups to reflect that we are clear that there is a conflict and seek a solution.
He has talked about changing laws that conflict with UN resolutions.
An update of the regulation is already in process, in a presentation, in which there are things that have to be updated, improved and debated.
But those resolutions refer to state regulations.
If we want to be heard in Madrid, we have to have a good representation of Catalan parties that are clear that what they are going to do there is defend the sovereignty of our institutions and of our country.
It also demands that Catalan be used in Parliament.
Although it is official, Catalan is a minority language. It can only be saved if people talk about it. As a country language I want it to defend itself and the best way is to use it. That's why I made an appeal.
She was elected with the votes of Junts and ERC. Does it help rebuild the bridges between the two parties?
It is important. But it must be the pro-independence parties that achieved the majority that see that bridges must be rebuilt, that the objectives for which the citizens voted for us must be clear. Only more together and united the pro-independence parties will we be able to better defend the rights of our country.
Will we see any further steps in this direction in the coming months?
That is in the hands of the Government and the groups. The Chamber will be at the disposal of the force or push that they want to make to advance on this path.
The previous presidency of the Chamber sometimes seemed like a counterpower to the Executive.
We must see the difference. The president that was there was a candidate to be president of the country and competed to access another position. My desire is to be, above all, president of this House.
Do you think it would have been better to occupy the presidency in July and avoid interim in the institution all these months?
They wanted to demonstrate that the situation is not normal, the anomaly is demonstrated and the constant complaint that there is a conflict because they take people away from the institutions. We were clear that until it was certain that there was nothing to do, we would preserve it. We hoped that Laura Borràs would occupy it again.
The Parliament has been a protagonist in this legislature for issues of internal regime, such as licenses by age, retirement awards or allowances for deputies.
There are a number of issues that have been worked on, in some cases they are more paralyzed, in others more advanced. We'll see what situation everything is in, I'll catch up. The Parliament is an institution that must set an example and we must look at things rigorously. We will do what is best for the institution.
Until now you have been a discreet leader in Junts. For example, he did not rule on the consultation to leave or remain in the Government. Her new position exposes her more. Will your leadership change?
I would say that they are ways of doing things and everyone has their own way of doing politics or of expressing themselves. It is clear to me that at this time what I will say, or when I have to address the public, will be like the figure I now represent.
But he is the second authority in Catalonia and the highest-ranking institutional figure of JxCat. Will that be translated into more prominence?
Perhaps it is not so much time to talk about the party, but I am already the first vice president and discretion does not shy away from working, collaborating or acting with my style and my way of being to help the party.
In the municipal elections, Junts has done better in places where they have had a more pragmatic discourse such as Barcelona, with Xavier Trias, Banyoles, Igualada, Tortosa, Martorell or Figueres. Do you think that is the line to follow?
One of the things that I can extract from the municipal elections, because I would like to look at it as an institution, is the concern for abstention. This is the review we all have to do and wonder why this happened.
The one who most accused the abstention was the independence movement.
I would say that people give you some readings with that and you have to extract some answers from there. What is convenient is to sit down, talk and move forward together to continue with that process that began on October 1.
In 2015 he won in Vic, when he was leading the Convergència candidacy, and agreed with the PSC. In recent years there has been noise with these pacts, although less and less. What do you think about it?
The important thing is that in each municipality there is autonomy. What happened in 2015 was before 2017, but at the local level, municipal issues can be very well differentiated from national ones. In each place they know their relationships and I don't think there is any guideline to agree with one party or another. It is agreed with which you can complement yourself better.
Is it the same in the councils?
We have to understand that it is a managing body and we have to see what forces can give more response or more solution to the area they cover.
In the Parliament there is also harmony between both spaces. It seems that there is a paradigm shift with respect to the years immediately after the 1-O referendum.
What is important is the topic being discussed and what is going to be discussed. When a party decides to vote in favor of something, it is simply because it believes that it is the best. It seems to me that what Junts has done is to think, more so now that he is out of the Government, but also when he was inside, about the problems that really need to be fixed.
Given the departure of the Government in perspective, more than half a year later and after an election, was it a success?
That decision was made perhaps because there was a situation that could no longer be endured. What is demonstrated is the maturity of the Junts party, that wherever it is, it continues to work for the country.
On the other hand, you have been a teacher for more than 20 years before joining municipal politics. Her first plenary session as president will be a monograph on education. That waits?
I was in the Education Commission and now I won't be able to participate openly... It is an issue in which there needs to be a lot of work because we are concerned about the educational situation in the country, the results are not with us and we see that there is a lot abandonment, that there is a tired educational system that does not feel supported. Many measures are necessary to advance, because that is where future generations of the country are prepared. With this full monograph, having listened to many people who are part of the educational world, it seems to us that the best thing is that all of us together, because I understand it as a country pact, make a good diagnosis of the moment and look for solutions. Because sometimes it is not enough to put resources in if behind it there is not a good project or a good diagnosis to truly solve the problems. The photo that comes to us of the state of education is not to be happy at all.
Then there are problems with reading comprehension.
That is worrisome and has been known for a long time. Measures must be put in place, we have indicators that are giving us alarm signals that the situation is worsening and we cannot blame the corononovairus pandemic. It is not the excuse. We have evidence from before that shows that this situation is entrenched and school dropout is also worrying.
To finish... what did the president say to you when you were elected?
We have agreed that we will see each other as soon as possible. We are now looking for a date with the agendas and it is possible that we can see each other, perhaps it would be good, even before next week's plenary session.