Socialists and Puigdemont meet in Brussels to discuss Pedro Sánchez's reelection as PM 

Acting Spanish prime minster has backed amnesty for pro-independence figures involved in 2017 referendum

Senior figures from Junts, including Carles Puigdemont, and Spain's Socialists, including Santos Cerdán, meet in Brussels on October 31
Senior figures from Junts, including Carles Puigdemont, and Spain's Socialists, including Santos Cerdán, meet in Brussels on October 31 / Junts
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

October 30, 2023 05:14 PM

October 31, 2023 04:54 PM

Senior members of Spain's Socialist party traveled to Belgium on Monday to meet with former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont as negotiations to reelect Pedro Sánchez as Spanish prime minister step up. 

Puigdemont and Junts general secretary, Jordi Turull, met with Socialist party secretary, Santos Cerdán, to take part in talks. 

In two identical statements, Junts and the Socialists highlighted the "good atmosphere" of the meeting and said that negotiations are "moving in the right direction."  

Talks are set to continue in the coming days, the statements said. 

Monday's meeting was held at Junts' offices in the European Parliament, with senior Socialist MEPs Iratxe García-Pérez and Javier Moreno also taking part. 

ERC: "Long way" from deal

Earlier on Monday, Esquerra Republicana (ERC) admitted talks over the possible reelection of Pedro Sánchez as prime minister were "intensifying," with an increase in meetings and contact with the Socialists, but still no agreement in sight. 

"Negotiations have intensified but we are still a long way from an agreement," spokesperson Raquel Sans said at a press conference. 

Sans warned Sánchez that he must address the 'Catalonia folder,' which includes an amnesty, an independence referendum, the fiscal deficit, and devolving responsibility for the Rodalies commuter rail network. 

"Would you be prepared to hand over the presidency of the Spanish government to [conservative People's Party] PP and [far right] Vox, for not responding to the chronic deficit of the Catalan government's finances or to a precarious Rodalies network," the spokesperson asked.

"Everything will depend on whether the Socialists respond to ERC's demands," Sans said, including an amnesty "which must be absolute." 


"The agreement doesn't exist, so whether it's next week, or in two weeks, the responsibility lies with the Socialists, with Pedro Sánchez, who has a deadline to be reelected as PM."

"Right now there is no firm proposal from the [Spanish] government" to resolve any of the issues, Sans said. 

"The requirements set out by ERC are very clear." 

Spain hopes amnesty will speed up talks 

The Spanish government hopes that Pedro Sánchez's backing of an amnesty for independence figures will speed up talks. 

"It is now the turn of the parliamentary groups," spokesperson Isabel Rodríguez said a t a press conference on Monday. 


"We would like it to be as soon as possible, but we know for certain that it must be before November 27," 

According to Rodríguez, an agreement will make it possible to "move forward" to "end and conclude a terrible period for all Spaniards and Catalans." 

Hung parliament after July election

After July's election, the right-wing bloc won more seats in Congress than the left but fell short of a majority in the chamber. People's Party leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo failed to be named Prime Minister in September. 

As a result, Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez was invited to try to form a government. He promised solutions to "overcome discord" in Catalonia but has reiterated his stance that an independence referendum is incompatible with the Spanish constitution. 

Speaking in early October, Sánchez said that negotiations will be "complex" and that his aim is to build a majority in Congress to remain stable for a full term. He spoke of the need for a "progressive" government and one that believes in the "territorial diversity" of Spain.