Sánchez-Aragonès meeting in Barcelona ends with five major agreements

Control of targeted basic income will be transferred to Catalan executive

Pedro Sánchez and Pere Aragonès greet each other before the meeting
Pedro Sánchez and Pere Aragonès greet each other before the meeting / Jordi Borràs
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

December 21, 2023 10:55 AM

December 21, 2023 07:27 PM

After an hour-long meeting at the Catalan government headquarters in Barcelona on Thursday, Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez and Catalan president Pere Aragonès announced five significant agreements.

The first major deal involves the transfer of authority over the targeted basic income, currently under the jurisdiction of the Spanish government, to the Catalan executive. The measure will be approved on Deceber 27. 

Sánchez and Aragonès have also agreed to convene the Dialogue Table in the first quarter of 2024, and a law that will allow Catalan citizens to address the Spanish state administration in Catalan.

Other agreements include making progress on the transfer of the Rodalies commuter railway, a longstanding demand of Aragonès, and a project for the establishment of a technological chip production center (Innofab) in Catalonia.

After the meeting, Pedro Sánchez stressed his "total willingness" to resolve the political conflict in Catalonia, but rejected the independence referendum as a solution. 

He also defended his commitment to reaching agreements with the Catalan executive to promote self-government and provide more funding.


Pere Aragonès described the meeting as "cordial" and said that it was "profitable" and "positive" for Catalonia because it led to "good agreements".

The Catalan president stressed that the "new phase" of negotiations between the two governments has now begun, as the amnesty law brings to an end the "state repression against independence".

He stressed his commitment to a referendum, saying that the conditions to make it possible must be agreed upon during Sánchez's term.

"We will defend our solution to the political conflict: holding a self-determination referendum in Catalonia," he said. 


Sánchez arrived at the Palau de la Generalitat at noon amid a heavy police presence, with dozens of supporters of far-right Vox and, separately, pro-independence protesters, gathering in Plaça Sant Jaume.

It was the first institutional meeting between the two leaders since Sánchez was reelected as Prime Minister of Spain for another term in November. The Spanish PM last visited the Catalan government headquarters in September 2021. 



A rally organized by the pro-independence civic group Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and another by Revuelta, an anti-independence group linked to the far-right Vox, began at 11:30 am in Plaça Sant Jaume ahead of the meeting. 

Catalan police Mossos d'Esquadra secured the entrance with barriers and stationed vans at all entrances to the square. They also kept the two protests separate, with about 50 people on each side

Protesters from Revuelta, an anti-independence group linked to the far-right Vox
Protesters from Revuelta, an anti-independence group linked to the far-right Vox / Maria Pratdesaba

The pro-independence demonstrators gathered under the slogan "Enough deception!" and took up positions in the part of the square closest to La Rambla, while those called by Revuelta protested under the slogan "Stop the betrayal of amnesty!" and were at the other end of the square.

Protesters from Catalan National Assembly (ANC)
Protesters from Catalan National Assembly (ANC) / Maria Pratdesaba

Sánchez calls for 'pragmatism' in radio interview 

On Thursday morning, Sánchez gave an interview to Rac1 radio in which he appealed for "pragmatism" for pro-independence forces to focus on Catalonia's self-government, powers and financing system, rather than a referendum

The Spanish prime minister said he was "open" to talk about issues that are "within the constitutional framework" adding that the new financing system is a multilateral tool – applicable to all Spanish regions – despite the fact that it was negotiated bilaterally with Catalan parties. 

Sánchez also indicated that he plans to hold meetings with former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and former vice president Oriol Junqueras once the amnesty law is finally approved. 

Puigdemont, now a Junts MEP, has lived in exile in Belgium since the 2017 independence push, while Esquerra Republicana leader Oriol Junqueras was jailed before being pardoned by Sánchez. 

Dialog table

Another element of the investiture agreement was to continue the dialogue table between the administrations aimed at resolving the territorial conflict between Catalonia and Spain.

The dialogue table is now in a "second phase," and the next meeting will take place in the first quarter of 2024, as agreed today by Sánchez and Aragonès.

So far, there have been three meetings of the dialogue table. The first was with Quim Torra as president in February 2020, right before the pandemic began.

The second meeting was held in May 2021, with Aragonès as president, while the most recent came in July 2022.