Spain suspends talks with Catalan government
Madrid rules out new concessions to pro-independence parties
The Spanish government has suspended talks with the Catalan executive after ruling out any new concessions to get pro-independence parties’ votes to pass the general budget for 2019.
"It makes no sense to prolong a situation when there’s an element that can’t be solved," said vice president Carmen Calvo, referring to Catalan demands for a vote on self-determination.
A proposal from Madrid to have an observer attend and coordinate the meetings between Catalan parties sparked outrage among opposition forces in the Spanish parliament, which accused the central government of conceding to the demands of the pro-independence parties.
The Catalan government regretted the Spanish executive’s decision and accused president Pedro Sánchez of not being "brave enough" and of "giving in" to "blackmail" by right-wing unionists.
Commenting on the suspension of the talks on Twitter, Sánchez reiterated the words of his deputy, Carmen Calvo, saying that "this government will never accept a referendum on self-determination." Instead, the Spanish president offered Catalonia "coexistence, dialogue and the law."
Sánchez came to power thanks to pro-independence parties
A fresh chapter in the troubled relationship between the executives seemed to have come about last spring, when the pro-independence parties helped the Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez become Spain’s president after defeating the conservative Mariano Rajoy in a no-confidence vote.
For months, Sánchez’s government has tried to secure the support of the pro-independence parties in order to pass the general budget for 2019—the most crucial vote since he came to power.