Spanish president: pro-independence and right-wing parties 'fear' dialogue
Pedro Sánchez claims his government is alone in working for "a Catalonia in harmony with a united Spain"
Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, went on Twitter on Tuesday to accuse the pro-independence and the right-wing opposition parties of having a "fear" of dialogue.
With the start of the trial of Catalan leaders coinciding with the first budget debate in Congress, Sánchez said his Socialist government was the only one working for "a Catalonia in harmony with a united Spain."
The pro-independence parties and the right-wing opposition parties have both refused to back the Spanish government's budget for 2019, which could force Sánchez to call an early general election.
Dentro de la Constitución, el @PSOE propuso una comisión de política territorial en el Congreso y una Mesa de partidos catalanes en el Parlament. Las derechas nunca participaron. El independentismo nunca creyó en ellas. Viven mejor en la confrontación. Tienen miedo al diálogo.— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) February 12, 2019
"They live better from confrontation, they are frightened of dialogue," tweeted Sánchez about the pro-independence and right-wing parties, adding that "both of them want the same thing: a Catalonia in conflict with itself and a Spain in conflict with itself."
Finance minister defends 2019 budget
Defending the budget in Congress, the Spanish finance minister, María Jesús Montero, warned the conservative People's Party (PP) and Ciudadanos (Cs) that questioning the legitimacy of the Sánchez government is to "attack the Constitution."
The minister accused PP and Cs of adopting a style of opposition that is "destructive, retrograde and opportunistic" at the expense of coexistence in Catalonia.
Montero also criticized the pro-independence parties for voting with the right-wing parties against a "social" budget she said Catalonia and Spain deserve, after putting conditions that are "impossible" for the government to address, such as self-determination or interfering in the judiciary.
The pro-independence parties, whose votes helped ensure the success of Sánchez's censure motion that ousted the former PP government, have refused to back the budget unless the Socialist executive makes a gesture towards self-determination or the jailed Catalan leaders.
Trial of Catalan leaders is the "priority," says ERC
Despite Montero appealing to the pro-independence parties to "reconsider" their stance on the budget, the ERC party said it had made its position clear and stressed that "this morning for us there was no other priority than the trial that began in the Supreme Court."
Yet, the spokeswoman for the left-wing Podemos party, Irene Montero, warned ERC and its coalition partner in Catalonia, the PDeCAT party, that sinking the budget would be "seriously irresponsible" and would make a "negotiated and democratic solution to Catalonia's situation" more difficult.