The president said the Catalan government's priority right now is to steer Catalonia out of the health, economic, social and educational crisis triggered by Covid-19.
President Torra during the parliamentary control session. Photograph: Sílvia Jardí (Catalan News Agency)

In response to a question from the Catalan Republican Left party during a parliamentary control session this morning, the president of the Government of Catalonia, Quim Torra, said: “We can only walk the path to independence together. […] We need to be united and to persevere. That’s the only way to effectively fight state repression and defend our fundamental rights.”

The head of the executive said pro-sovereignty forces have shown their strength when they have acted and voted in line with their stated positions, citing as examples the rejection of the state of alarm declared by the central government and the response to the sentencing of Catalan leaders on charges related to the referendum held on 1 October 2017. President Torra reiterated his proposal to “go back to the ballot box to hold a self-determination referendum” and stressed the need to persevere: “The path to independence is a straight line; it’s not one that runs forward and then back again. It’s a long-term strategy. That’s why we need to persevere in pursuing out goal.”

Priority to steer Catalonia out of post–Covid-19 crisis

During the control session, the president said the Catalan government’s priority right now is to steer Catalonia out of the health, economic, social and educational crisis triggered by Covid-19, stressing that this is what citizens are demanding from the government and that Catalonia’s interest must come before any other consideration. “When things are on track in terms of tackling these situations, you can be confident that the citizens of Catalonia will be called to the ballot box,” the president said in reply to a question from the leader of the Catalunya en Comú (“Catalonia in Common”) party.

Torra said priorities in the budget would need to be changed to tackle current challenges, and that the Executive Council is working on this. However, he stressed that “Catalonia will never have the budget it needs” as long as the gap between what it pays in taxes to the state and what it receives back in spending persists. Consequently, he once again called for the Catalan government to be able to “manage the resources that Catalonia generates”.

In reply to a question from the leader of the Socialist party, the president said: “Catalonia’s problem is the social deficit and the €16bn that vanishes every year. The Spanish government is now announcing big economic plans, but what we want is for them to give us back our money,” the president said, noting that the €15bn the Government of Catalonia is asking for does not include the amount of the cumulative shortfall in spending and transfers or the fiscal imbalance.

At another point in the control session, President Torra reiterated the Catalan government’s unanimous condemnation of any racist attitudes. In reference to alleged racist abuse by regional police officers in the town of Manresa, the president noted that the conduct had been censured by the Minister of Home Affairs, the head of the Mossos (regional police force) and all members of the Executive Council. Torra said further action would be considered when the judge has issued a ruling.