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King of Spain and Catalan President hold formal meeting

"I come in peace", stated the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, when a journalist asked him whether he saw himself coming to La Zarzuela Palace once again as a Head of State on an official visit. It was the first meeting between the Catalan President and the King of Spain, Felipe VI, after the unitary pro-independence list was announced for the forthcoming Catalan Parliament elections, scheduled for 27 September and likely to become a 'de facto' plebiscite on independence from Spain. The conversation between Felipe VI and Mas is a part of a series of protocol meetings that the Spanish monarch is currently holding with all the Presidents of the Autonomous Communities. The meeting lasted one hour and 15 minutes, and had a cordial tone, according to Catalan Government sources. As is the custom with this type of encounter, there were no statements made afterwards. However, before the meeting, the Catalan Government believed the King and Mas would also talk about the self-determination process.

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17 July 2015 09:58 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- "I come in peace", stated the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, when a journalist asked him whether he saw himself coming to La Zarzuela Palace once again as a Head of State on an official visit. The question was asked just before the King of Spain, Felipe VI, entered the room to welcome Mas. It was the first meeting between the Catalan President and the Spanish King after the unitary pro-independence list was announced for the forthcoming Catalan Parliament elections, scheduled for 27 September and likely to become a 'de facto' plebiscite on independence from Spain. In addition, it was also the first time that Felipe VI welcomed Mas in his official office for a formal meeting since he became King 13 months ago. The conversation between Felipe VI and Mas is a part of a series of protocol meetings that the Spanish monarch is currently holding with all the Presidents of the Autonomous Communities. The meeting lasted one hour and 15 minutes, and had a cordial tone, according to Catalan Government sources. As normally happens with this type of encounter, there were no press releases or statements made afterwards. However, before the meeting, the Catalan Government believed the King and Mas would also talk about the self-determination process.


On Friday, in the Spanish King's official office and residence, La Zarzuela Palace, the Catalan President and Felipe VI held a formal meeting, the first one in some months, although the two of them had met and spoken with each other on several occasions at events held in Catalonia. However, they did not have any long private conversation such as this meeting.

In addition, this Friday's meeting arrived during the same week that Mas successfully managed to build a unitary and pro-independence list with his own party, the Liberal CDC, and social-democrat, socialist, green and Christian-democrat politicians and the main civil society organisations supporting independence. This unitary list aims to start a process of independence from Spain if they win the next Catalan Parliament elections (scheduled for 10 weeks’ time) and pro-independence parties achieve an absolute majority in the Chamber.

The meeting is to be framed within the "normal and cordial" spirit that should be present in the institutional relationship between the Catalan Government and the Crown, stated sources from the Barcelona-based Executive. The Royal House office also insisted that this Friday meeting is a normal event, stressing the fact that it is just another meeting out of the series of talks at La Zarzuela that the Spanish King is currently having with all the Presidents of the Autonomous Community governments. However, taking into account the Catalan independence debate and the forthcoming elections, there was a lot of expectations.

This type of meeting always takes place behind closed doors, in the Spanish King's office. However, the Monarch welcomes his guest in another room, where the press is present and the guest is waiting.

When the Catalan President entered this room to wait for the arrival of the King, one journalist asked Mas whether he saw himself coming there once again soon as a Head of State on an official visit. After smiling, Mas first answered "no comment" and then added  jokingly "I come in peace".

At that moment, Felipe VI entered the room and shook hands with Mas. After exchanging a few words and posing for the photographers, the King invited the Catalan President to go to his office to talk. At this point, another awkward moment occurred when Mas wanted the King to cross the threshold of the doorway first and the King gestured that Mas be the first to cross. In the end, the Catalan President went first, followed by the Spanish Monarch.

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  • The King of Spain, Felipe VI (left), and the Catalan President, Artur Mas (right), on Friday at La Zarzuela Palace (by ACN)

  • The King of Spain, Felipe VI (left), and the Catalan President, Artur Mas (right), on Friday at La Zarzuela Palace (by ACN)
Catalan President meets King Felipe