Catalan and Spanish governments agree to meet monthly
Joint statement released with a commitment to ensuring that any agreements reached are "within the framework of legal certainty"
The Catalan and Spanish governments have agreed to hold monthly meetings following their initial summit which took place at Spanish government headquarters in Madrid on Wednesday.
The meetings will be held alternately in Madrid and Barcelona and the presidents and vice presidents will only attend "when it is necessary to ratify political agreements."
Following the three-hour bilateral meeting, the two parties released a joint statement saying they were committed to ensuring that any agreements reached during their negotiations are "within the framework of legal certainty."
The eight-strong Catalan delegation was headed by president Quim Torra. They met with seven members of the Spanish executive, led by Spanish president Pedro Sánchez. Spanish vice president Pablo Iglesias was absent due to illness.
Speaking to the media following the meeting, Catalan president Quim Torra said: "Unfortunately we have not received a clear response from the Spanish government on our demands for an amnesty and self-determination."
Torra said he "applauds" the dialogue between the Spanish and Catalan governments, but still sees the need for there to be a mediator present in these talks and believes sectoral issues can be addressed through other channels.
Spanish government spokesperson María Jesús Montero also spoke to the press after the meeting, calling it an "important first step towards normalizing institutional relations" between the two governments. "We should not expect short-term results from these talks."
Montero viewed the meeting favorably as there was a "willingness" to talk on both sides, as not doing so over the past number of years had proved "counterproductive."
Almost two and a half years after the peak of the independence crisis in 2017, which saw a referendum and the subsequent exile and incarceration of its leaders, the Catalan and Spanish governments met to talk about the political conflict for the first time face-to-face.
The introduction of new governments both in Catalonia and Spain in spring 2018 lead to a thawing of relations between both sides, including two meetings between presidents – but talks failed in early 2019.
Now for the first time in the whole decade of open debate on Catalonia's future, both sides sat down for negotiations.