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The Catalan President emphasises the fact that his meeting with the King of Spain shows Catalonia’s “willingness to talk”

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, and the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, met on Thursday for the first time since Mas was re-elected president and the Catalan Parliament approved a Declaration of Sovereignty of the People of Catalonia. The meeting lasted 45 minutes and none of the participants officially commented afterwards. However, Mas, once in Barcelona, referred to it during a literary prize ceremony. The Catalan President underlined that “we will always have to go and explain ourselves” regarding Catalonia’s self-determination process. According to him, this proves Catalonia’s “willingness to always talk”. Besides, Mas also explained to the monarch that the current deficit targets imposed on the Autonomous Communities are not allowing them to guarantee the Welfare State.

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31 January 2013 10:13 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, and the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, met on Thursday morning for the first time since Mas was re-elected president and the Catalan Parliament approved a Declaration of Sovereignty of the People of Catalonia. The meeting had been scheduled following the protocol tradition of visiting the King a few weeks after taking office as President of the Catalan Government. It took place at La Zarzuela Palace, the King\u2019s official residence and the place where he regularly holds meetings, apart from the main State ceremonies. They met for 45 minutes and none of the participants officially commented on the meeting just after it had finished. However, Mas, once in Barcelona, referred to it during a literary prize ceremony in the evening. The Catalan President underlined that \u201Cwe will always have to go and explain ourselves\u201D regarding Catalonia\u2019s self-determination process. However, this is positive according to him, as it proves Catalonia\u2019s \u201Cwillingness to always talk\u201D. Besides, Mas also explained that he discussed the current deficit targets imposed on the Autonomous Communities with the monarch, which are not allowing them to guarantee the Welfare State, since they are too strict and these public bodies are those exclusively managing basic public services in Spain including healthcare, education and social policies.


During the \u2018Ramon Llull\u2019 literary award ceremony, which was held in the Generalitat Palace in Barcelona on Thursday evening, Mas insisted that in Catalonia\u2019s self-determination process, the Catalan society demands \u201Cdialogue\u201D between both parts \u2013 Catalan self-determination supporters and those that deny this right. This \u201Cwillingness to talk\u201D is precisely what the Catalan Government is asking the Spanish Executive for, but for the moment it only finds doors closed. In addition, Mas insisted that Catalans \u201Cwill always have to go and explain ourselves\u201D, in order to build a \u201Cconstructive and pedagogical base\u201D to make Catalonia\u2019s right to self-determination understandable. In this sense, Mas framed the meeting with the King of Spain to this end, in order to build this \u201Cpedagogical base\u201D.

Before the meeting with the King of Spain, Artur Mas, briefly talked to the press while he was waiting for the monarch. Since this Thursday was Mas\u2019 birthday, he joked about it and said that today\u2019s meeting \u201Cis not a gift but part of the work, courtesy and, above all, dialogue\u201D that is shared between the Catalan Government and the main Spanish institutions, such as the King\u2019s House. When the King arrived, Mas asked him about his health and how was he feeling. The monarch answered \u201Cvery well\u201D and they exchanged a few other words. They both stood up for the photo session and then they went to the King\u2019s office to talk.

The exact content of the talk is not known, but it has been disclosed that Mas and Juan Carlos I discussed Catalonia\u2019s political situation and the self-determination process. They also talked about the latest electoral results and fiscal consolidation measures, in particular about the austerity measures and the deficit targets imposed by the Spanish Government.

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  • The King of Spain, Juan Carlos I (left), and the Catalan President, Artur Mas (right) (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)

  • The King of Spain, Juan Carlos I (left), and the Catalan President, Artur Mas (right) (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)