Sánchez turns down meeting with MEPs during Strasbourg visit
Sources in Madrid say Spanish president lacks time to meet EU-Catalonia Dialogue Platform when visiting European Parliament on Wednesday
During his trip to the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week, Pedro Sánchez will not sit down with MEPs from the EU-Catalonia Dialogue Platform, which had sent a letter asking for a meeting with the Spanish president.
Sources in Madrid told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that the meeting will not take place due to a lack of time on Sánchez's schedule, as the president will only be in the French city for one day, on Wednesday.
The same sources said that the president's agenda had already been "closed" when the platform's letter asking for a meeting arrived.
In Strasbourg, Sánchez will attend a session of the European Parliament, meet with members of the "Spanish community" at the institution, such as MEPs and civil servants, and hold a press conference with chamber head, Antonio Tajani.
"Lost opportunity for dialogue," says Slovenian MP
The head of the platform, Slovenian MP, Ivo Vajgl, tweeted that he had received no formal response to the group's letter, warning Sánchez that turning down the meeting would be "to lose the opportunity for the dialogue he defends."
[Turning down the meeting would be] to lose the opportunity for the dialogue he defends"
Ivo Vajgl · Head of EU-Catalonia Dialogue Platform
Some 30 MEPs from a variety of political parties and countries jointly asked for the meeting with the Spanish president to discuss Catalonia's situation, calling it of "utmost importance" that Sánchez understand the deep concern the political conflict has caused in the EU.
MEPs from across political spectrum
Among the members of the EU-Catalonia Dialogue Platform are representatives from social democrat, liberal, green, socialist and conservative parties, from such countries as Slovenia, France, Ireland, the UK, Italy and Belgium.
The platform also includes Catalan MEPs, Jordi Solé and Josep Maria Terricabras (ERC) and Ramon Tremosa (PDECAT), as well as Basque representatives, Izaskun Bilbao (PNB) and Josu Juaristi (Bildu).
The group's aims include calling for the release of "the political and social leaders who are in prison," the "mediation" of European institutions in the Catalan conflict, and a "negotiated agreement between Spain and Catalonia that should end in a binding referendum."