By Laura Kemp • 18 September 2021 • 15:56
Spanish Central and regional authorities hopeful despite their differences. image: Mocloa Palace Media
The meeting between Central and Catalan authorities ended on Wednesday, September 14, to discuss the future of the northeastern region. Not much progress was made other than them agreeing on regular meetings for as long as it takes to come to a decision.
Relations between Barcelona and Madrid have been tense since Catalan separatists attempted a unilateral break in October 2017. However, authorities on both side see the meeting this week as a step forward as there has been no other dialogue since February 2020.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of the socialist party (PSOE) and Pere Aragonès of the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) both admitted that they have very different views on the subject of independence, however, they said that the main thing is to keep dialogue and communication channels open.
The differences were evident at the news conference after Wednesday’s meeting. Aragonès is pushing for full amnesty for those who were tried and convicted for their part in the secession attempt in 2017, of which nine were pardoned this year by the Sánchez government. He also defends a new referendum for residents after opinion surveys have shown almost an even split over the issue.
“Catalan society cannot go through any more cleavages and fractures,” said Sánchez about a new referendum.
“Images are important from a political viewpoint,” he said, adding that the meeting shows “that we want to overcome this crisis.”
Aragonès agreed on the importance of “showcasing the value of the negotiation and create trust.”
“In a year, the [Spanish] state will go into election mode. Sánchez will use the lack of agreement as proof of his firmness,” claims Elisenda Paluzie, president of the pro-independence civil society group Catalan National Assembly (ANC), which played an active role in the 2017 independence bid.
Assumpció Laïlla, a lawmaker with Demòcrates, which is part of the JxCat group in parliament said: “It looks like they are negotiating devolved powers in return for parliamentary support”.
“If so, it would be a betrayal of the independence movement and of those of us who want to see the mandate of October 1, 2017 [the date of the illegal referendum] carried out”, predicting that talks between Madrid and Barcelona will fail.
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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