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Catalan and Spanish governments meet amid opposition criticism

Senior ministers sit down in Barcelona to continue dialogue, with Ciutadans party accusing them of secrecy

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25 January 2019 07:11 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

High ranking officials in the Spanish and Catalan governments met in Barcelona on Friday evening with both sides stressing the need to continue the commitment to dialogue made earlier in the month.

According to the executives, the meeting helped “advance in negotiation” regards a space for dialogue, although neither side has confirmed they will take part in such an initiative. Both Catalan and Spanish officials coincided in describing the atmosphere of the meeting as “constructive.” 

Opposition criticizes "secrecy"

The opposition, however, accused the two governments of negotiating in "secret." Spanish vice president Carmen Calvo, who rejected the accusations, said "what is needed is to continue talking," before going to the Catalan capital after Friday's cabinet meeting to sit down with her Catalan counterpart, Pere Aragonès, and presidency minister, Elsa Artadi.  

In their last meeting on January 17, which included Spanish president Pedro Sánchez, both governments opened the door to set up two "spaces of dialogue," one for the executives and one for the parties, to tackle the issue of the independence conflict.

  • "What abominations must they be discussing for it to be such a secret when we have become used to the abominations they commit in front of everyone"

    Lorena Roldán · Cs MP

The aim of Friday's meeting was to agree on how to go about organizing the dialogue between the pro-independence parties and the ruling Socialist party, such as the format, who will be involved, and the immediate timetable.

Spokeswoman stresses meeting's "importance"

Going into the meeting, the Spanish executive was tight-lipped about its goals, with spokeswoman Isabel Celaá merely stressing the "importance" of the meeting but unwilling to give any details until the encounter is over.

The Catalan government has also kept comment about the meeting to a minimum, limiting itself to insisting that the future forum should include Spanish parties and not only Catalan ones, as the Sánchez executive has suggested.

Cs criticizes meeting "behind closed doors"

This led the opposition to accuse the governments of acting in "secret." The Ciutadans party (Cs) criticized the meeting "behind closed doors," and Sánchez for not telling the Senate "what he is negotiating with the pro-independence groups," said Cs MP, Lorena Roldán.

"What abominations must they be discussing for it to be such a secret when we have become used to the abominations they commit in front of everyone," added Roldán.

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  • Catalan vice president Pere Aragonès (right) and his Spanish counterpart Carmen Calvo (La Moncloa)

  • Catalan vice president Pere Aragonès (right) and his Spanish counterpart Carmen Calvo (La Moncloa)