Madrid rejects launching political negotiation in exchange for budget
Catalan ministers Artadi and Aragonès to meet with Spanish vice president on Thursday
The Spanish government will reject launching a political "negotiating entity" over Catalonia in order to get the necessary pro-independence support for Spain's 2019 budget.
María Jesús Montero, Spain's finance minister, rejected the idea that had been suggested by both large pro-independence parties, PDeCAT and ERC.
In the past few months they had insisted they would vote 'no' in accepting the Spanish budget for consideration in congress, unless Spain’s government "makes a move" towards self-determination and against the imprisonment of jailed leaders.
"Obviously we won't sit at any table to discuss issues outside the constitutional framework, or which are not part of any legislation," said Montero in an interview with Cadena Ser radio station.
Meeting on Thursday between governments' vice presidents
Yet on Thursday, the Catalan vice president, Pere Aragonès, and the cabinet spokesperson, Elsa Artadi, will meet with the Spanish government’s second-in-command, Carmen Calvo, to officially place the proposal.
"If [Spanish president Pedro] Sánchez has no will to find a political solution, the budget will not be accepted for consideration," said Artadi on Tuesday afternoon.
"We won't sit at any table to discuss issues outside the constitutional framework, or which are not part of any legislation"
María Jesús Montero · Spanish finance minister
Concerning the meeting, Calvo said Catalonia needs "political responses," but she unlinked a possible negotiation over the budget from "any other political issue."
The Catalan Socialists were also reluctant to the proposed negotiating table, saying that the pro-independence parties "should sit with the other Catalan parties" before taking any proposal to Madrid.
People's Party: "No privileges" for Catalans
Meanwhile other unionist parties such as the People's Party have also criticized in the past few weeks the attempts by the Spanish government to persuade the pro-independence forces to back the budget.
Some voices claim that the proposed spending plan favors Catalonia too much. "No Andalusian has more privileges than another Spaniard, but no Spaniard has more privileges than an Andalusian," said Juanma Moreno, the People's Party leader in the southern Spanish region during his swearing-in session.