Catalan delegation welcomed in Madrid as first meeting of ‘negotiating table’ gets underway
8-strong Catalan team met by 7 Spanish cabinet members at Moncloa, home of Spanish government
The first meeting of the 'negotiating table' between Spain and Catalonia on the independence crisis got underway in Madrid on Wednesday afternoon.
In the gardens of Moncloa, the home of the Spanish government, Spanish president Pedro Sánchez and six ministers from the executive welcomed the Catalan delegation.
Catalan President Quim Torra arrived last, meeting Pedro Sánchez one-to-one and shaking hands, before proceeding inside to meet the rest of the negotiating teams.
Spanish vice-president and Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias was absent due to tonsillitis.
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 will 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 are set to begin uncertain negotiations.