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Catalan leaders call for bilateral relationship with Spain, refuse to attend upcoming regional summits

Spain’s call for Catalan leaders to attend the upcoming Autonomous Communities’ summits to discuss regional policies has not changed the Government’s plan for the meetings. The Catalan Vice President and Catalan Minister for Economy and Tax Office, Oriol Junqueras, have refused to attend the Council on Fiscal and Financial Policies (CPFF, going by its Catalan initials) this Thursday, citing other political commitments. Catalan Secretary of Economy, Pere Aragonès, will go instead. For his part, Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, has already announced he will not attend the Conference of Presidents convened by the Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, for the 17th of January. “Catalonia has won the right to a bilateral relationship as the demands of the Catalan people have nothing to do with the requests of other Autonomous Communities”, Puigdemont said in October, when he announced that he would not be attending the conference.

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22 December 2016 10:43 AM

by

ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- Catalan Vice President and Catalan Minister for Economy and Tax Office, Oriol Junqueras, will not attend the Council on Fiscal and Financial Policies (CPFF,going by its Catalan initials) this Thursday. Junqueras explained on Wednesday that he has another political commitment. The politician will be presenting before the Parliament the so-called tax on large fortunes. The meeting will be attended, instead, by the Catalan Secretary of Economy, Pere Aragonès. Junqueras is not the only leader standing up the Spanish Government. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, more notably, has already announced he will not attend the Conference of Presidents convened by the Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, for the 17th of January. The absence of both politicians is a symbolic protest against Spain’s failed promises of dialogue. The Catalan executive has reiterated its wish for a bilateral relationship with its Spanish counterpart. “Catalonia has won the right to a bilateral relationship as the demands of the Catalan people have nothing to do with the requests of other Autonomous Communities”, Puigdemont said in October, when he announced that he would not be attending the conference.  


Already at that time, Puigdemont explained that his attendance was subject to the Spanish Government’s recognition of “the [bilateral] relationship Catalonia deserves”. Rajoy called Puigdemont last week to ask him to attend the meeting. According to Catalan Government sources, the Spanish President reissued the invitation without waiting for a response.  

Munté absent from preparatory meeting for conference

The Catalan Government spokeswoman and Catalan Minister for the Presidency, Neus Munté, failed to attend this Wednesday the preparatory meeting for the Conference of Presidents. “No circumstances justify this presence”, she said. “Nothing has changed in recent days and weeks”, she added, noting that the Spanish Government has not responded to “the invitations” from the Catalan Executive to maintain bilateral relations.

“We are ready to talk about everything, but we want them to listen to everything”, she stated referring to the red line imposed by the Spanish executive: no referendum on independence. Moreover, Munté requested the delegate of the Spanish Government in Catalonia, Enric Millo, to stop “doing a show for the gallery” and specify the dates of the bilateral meetings, which should be “ordinary” procedure. The last one took place in 2011, she highlighted.

Pending meetings

The Catalan and Spanish executives still have two pending meetings: one between the Spanish Vice President, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, and the Catalan Vice President, Oriol Junqueras; and another, and more crucial one, between Puigdemont and Rajoy. 

Junqueras explained last Wednesday in an interview with the Catalan Public radio station, Catalunya Ràdio, that the meeting with Sáenz de Santamaría will have to wait until January. This week “is really intense”, he stated referring to the parliamentary debate of the budget for 2017, which ended on Wednesday.

 

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  • Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and Catalan Vice President and Minister for Economy and Tax Office (by ACN)

  • Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and Catalan Vice President and Minister for Economy and Tax Office (by ACN)