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Spain’s dialogue promises “must be backed by action”, says Catalan Government

The Catalan Government spokeswoman and Catalan Minister for the Presidency, Neus Munté, questioned on Friday Spain’s promise to engage with Catalonia in a frank dialogue. “It’s not enough to just talk about dialogue, it must be backed by action”, she said after the first meeting between the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, and the new delegate of the Spanish Government in Catalonia, Enric Millo. Munté stressed that Millo’s offer for “an open and sincere dialogue” is “contradictory considering the legal action being taken against elected representatives” of Catalonia. The Catalan Government spokeswoman also considered useless to engage in a dialogue with “red lines”. The Spanish government representative said after meeting Puigdemont that he will only discuss issues that remain within “the rules of the game”, thus excluding a referendum on independence, which Spain considers illegal. However, it is precisely the issue of independence that is putting Madrid and Barcelona at odds. 

 

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03 December 2016 11:02 AM

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ACN
Barcelona (CNA).- The Catalan Government spokeswoman and Catalan Minister for the Presidency, Neus Munté, questioned on Friday Spain’s promise to engage with Catalonia in a frank dialogue. “It’s not enough to just talk about dialogue, it must be backed by action”, she said after the first meeting between the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, and the new delegate of the Spanish Government in Catalonia, Enric Millo. Munté stressed that Millo’s offer for “an open and sincere dialogue” is “contradictory considering the legal action being taken against elected representatives” of Catalonia. The Catalan Government spokeswoman also considered useless to engage in a dialogue with “red lines”.

 


The independence referendum continues to be a major hurdle in the relations between the Spanish and the Catalan Government, as it was confirmed after Puigdemont and Millo’s meeting. The Spanish representative said the discussion was “very positive” and confirmed a “desire for dialogue and understanding" as well as for “finding solutions” in both sides despite “different views on key aspects”. 
 
Millo offered an outstretched hand for “an open and sincere dialogue” to Puigdemont. However, he established a red line, the referendum on independence, and he clarified that all topics “outside the rules of the game” are to be excluded from the negotiation table. Instead, the former Catalan MP called to focus the conversations in “easier” debates. “If we start talking about the most difficult issues to solve, we limit ourselves”, Millo claimed.  
 
Regarding the veto of the referendum in future conversations, the Catalan Government spokeswoman, Neus Munté, insisted on this topic being included in the agenda. “We are open to discuss everything”, she said, “but everything means everything, also Parliament’s mandates and among them, the referendum”, she added. “This is the frank and sincere dialogue that can bring results, never a dialogue that is conditioned or reduced to only certain topics”, she stressed. 
 
Besides, Munté reiterated that the Catalan Government wants a “bilateral” and direct relationship with the Spanish one. Millo, however, said that everyday issues cannot be tackled through “bilateralism”. “We should stop putting unnecessary limitations and we should start working”, he insisted. Millo asked Puigdemont to reconsider his decision not to attend the Conference of Presidents convened by the Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy. “If he does not attend it, a majority of Catalans will not be properly represented”, he warned. 
 
First meeting 
 
Friday’s meeting was the first between Puigdemont and the former PP Catalan MP Enric Millo. He was named new delegate of the Spanish Executive in Catalonia on the 18th of November, thus replacing Maria de los Llanos de la Luna. During his first speech as new delegate, Millo promised to “reduce distances” between the Catalan and the Spanish institutions and expressed his commitment “to ease” the political atmosphere. Furthermore, he assured that he is “willing to talk”, but insisted that the Spanish Constitution has to be respected. 
 
The meeting was celebrated in the wake of a series of judicial cases against Catalan pro-independence politicians, including the President of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, and the former President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas. The aim was to exchange views on the Catalan situation. However, Spokeswoman Neus Munté stressed that there are 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 Spanish President Mariano Rajoy. 

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  • The delegate of the Spanish Government in Catalonia, Enric Millo, greets the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, before their first meeting on the 2nd of December 2016 (by ACN)

  • The delegate of the Spanish Government in Catalonia, Enric Millo, greets the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, before their first meeting on the 2nd of December 2016 (by ACN)