Irish Prime Minister calls on Madrid to open dialogue with next Catalan government

Leo Varadkar believes it is “only solution” to ongoing political crisis

Leo Varadkar, the Irish PM, speaking at the European Parliament on January 17 (by Reuters)
Leo Varadkar, the Irish PM, speaking at the European Parliament on January 17 (by Reuters) / ACN

ACN | Strasbourg

January 17, 2018 01:12 PM

The Prime Minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, has urged the Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy, to open dialogue with the next government of Catalonia.

I think the only solution is dialogue, and I hope the central government in Madrid will engage in dialogue with the new government in Catalonia,” he said in Strasbourg at the plenary session of the European Parliament.

His remarks come on the same day as the opening session of the Catalan Parliament, wherein the next Parliament Bureau members are decided on. Roger Torrent, of Esquerra Republicana (ERC) has been voted in as the next president of the chamber, while Josep Costa (Together for Catalonia) and José Maria Espejo-Saavedra (Ciutadans) have been voted in as the first and second vice-presidents thus far.

Leo Varadkar, has served as Ireland’s Prime Minister, or Taoiseach in Irish, since June 2017. In his comments on the ongoing political situation, he also expressed his love for Catalonia, saying that it is one of his “favourite parts of the world.”

Varadkar’s comments came in response to a question by Esquerra Republicana's MEP Jordi Solé, who asked the Irish premier if he knew of an “EU where peaceful people are beaten by police as they vote.”

Do you know of an EU that looks the other way when rights and democracy are at stake within its borders?” Solé also asked.

Meanwhile, in Catalonia, pro-independence forces keep their majority in the Catalan Parliament’s bureau. Formed by a total of 7 members, the new parliament is made upf of four pro-independence members, including the Parliament’s president, and three unionist representatives.