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'Thaw' but long way to go: papers have their say on Torra-Sánchez meeting

Some Catalan dailies highlight that Madrid "has not changed" rejection of independence vote, one in Madrid regrets "secessionist challenge" continues despite talks

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10 July 2018 02:33 PM

by

Guifré Jordan | Barcelona

The views given by the Catalan and Spanish newspapers on the Catalonia crisis have been in the past few years as far from each other as the actions by the governments on each side.

And when it came to assess the meeting on Monday by Catalonia and Spain's leaders this was no different.

Yet most of the editorials published on Tuesday coincided on one thing: the summit was just the first step of a long and uncertain way ahead.

"Institutional normalization started"

The top-selling paper in Catalonia, La Vanguardia, used the word "thaw" to describe the meeting. Its editorial welcomed what they see as "the restoration of politics and dialogue to face a serious crisis."

According to La Vanguardia, "big doses of patience, flexibility, intelligence and prudence will be needed on both sides."

"Despite the big underlying differences, the most important thing is that an era of institutional normalization has just started," added the paper.

El Periódico, the second biggest-selling daily in Catalonia, said the meeting is a "glimmer of hope." "It is good news that politics has returned to the serious institutional crisis that we are going through."

The paper also reads that the differences in key issues such as self-determination makes the situation "extremely complex," but at the same time the meeting is a first step toward finding the way out.

Both El Periódico and La Vanguardia were critical of Catalonia's bid for independence last autumn.

Closer to the road towards a Catalan state, El Punt Avui coincided in saying that this restores the relationship between both institutions and said that the summit "sets positions."

Yet the daily also regrets that the change of hands in the Spanish government "has not changed even a millimeter" Madrid's stance on the right to self-determination.

"Astronomic distance"

"The measures agreed yesterday are important, but they are not the key point in this negotiation process," added El Punt Avui.

"Torra and Sánchez start the uncertain path of dialogue." That was the title of the paper ARA’s editorial, with a similar stance to that of El Punt Avui in the independence issue.

The daily, much newer than the other three, said that the fact that both were able to express their stances "is already a big change compared to the previous era."

Although "in essence nothing has changed and the distance continues to be astronomic," the change of atmosphere is evident for the newspaper.

Spanish newspapers

The main Spanish paper, El País, calls the meeting a "relief" and a "first step to recovering the institutional dialogue and reducing the accumulated tension."

Its editorial reads that such a summit was "missed" and supports Sánchez in rejecting a referendum. Indeed it calls the idea of holding a vote on independence a  "divisive fantasy."

The second top-selling daily in Spain, El Mundo, was far more critical about the event. "The long-awaited meeting between Pedro Sánchez and Quim Torra was not useful in order to halt the secessionist challenge, the biggest one in our democracy."

The editorial states that it was both sides "showing off for the sake of it,” but questions if the meeting was useful at all.

In fact El Mundo was against Sánchez meeting Torra. "A rule of law does not dialogue or negotiate with members of coup d'états," said its editorial referring to the independence supporters.

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  • Newspapers react to presidents' meeting (by Guifré Jordan)

  • Newspapers react to presidents' meeting (by Guifré Jordan)