'Guaranteeing success' more important than rushing to start talks says Catalan government
Spanish government says talks will start next week, while EU parliament president welcomes Catalan-Spanish dialogue
"Guaranteeing the success" of the negotiations with the Spanish executive is more important to the Catalan government than the dates the talks will take place.
"Hurrying things along is no guarantee that they will go better," said Catalan government spokesperson Meritxell Budó, adding that the schedule will not be "rushed."
At a press conference on Tuesday, the minister insisted that it was Spanish president Pedro Sánchez who had proposed that the first meeting between governments would be in February and that Catalan president Quim Torra had "never committed."
“It’s not a question of days or the calendar, it’s about political will,” she said.
In Madrid, the Spanish government has reaffirmed that the talks with the Catalan government will go ahead "before the end of February."
María Jesús Montero, finance minister and spokesperson for the Spanish government, was speaking at a press conference, following a cabinet meeting in Madrid presided over by King Felipe VI.
"The two cabinets are in contact with each other to set the agenda, the order of business, and the personnel that will take part."
With regard to a mediator – a topic in which the two pro-independence parties Junts per Catalunya and Esquerra haven’t seen eye to eye – Montero said “they are not a necessary figure” as “the witnesses to the negotiations will be all citizens.”
She acknowledged that the conflict with Catalonia is "complex" and that the Spanish government doesn’t expect an immediate resolution, but rather ways to address the political situation.
Iceta meets Sassoli
Meanwhile, the Catalan Socialist Party leader Miquel Iceta has said that the European Parliament president David Sassoli has welcomed the start of talks in Catalonia.
Iceta met the Italian in Brussels on Tuesday morning where he conveyed his hopes for "the prospect of the beginning of a dialogue between governments." The Catalan Socialist went on to say that finding "political solutions to problems that were fundamentally political seemed good" to Sassoli.
The PSC leader told reporters that he had taken the opportunity to thank Sassoli for his “institutional behavior” because he had had to deal with “some of the problems that we should have probably been able to solve within Spain and Catalonia.”
Since beginning his term as President of the European parliament Sassoli has had to manage the controversy over exiled Catalan leaders taking their seats, as well as the ruling of the European Court of Justice on the case of Oriol Junqueras.