Spain PM In Barcelona To Reopen Catalan Separatist Talks
Muhammad Irfan 3 days ago Wed 15th September 2021 | 08:50 AM
Barcelona, Sept 15 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 15th Sep, 2021 ) :Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visits Barcelona Wednesday to resume dialogue with Catalonia's separatist leadership on resolving the political crisis triggered by the region's 2017 failed independence bid.
"I will lead this negotiation on behalf of the Spanish government," Sanchez said late Monday, confirming he would meet Catalan leader Pere Aragones on September 15 for talks on the region's political situation.
"The situation in Catalonia is very different, much more stable than in 2017 or in 2019," the prime minister said of the huge violent protests that followed Spain's jailing of nine separatist leaders exactly two years after the failed breakaway bid.
Expectations of success this time are low, with both sides coming to the table with radically different expectations.
The Spanish government is implacably opposed to both.
"If we go with a list of maximalist demands, the conversation won't last very long," Sanchez said on Monday, while admitting he was open to a possible vote on Catalonia's place within Spain, but within limits.
"Within the constitution, a democrat has no problem calling for a vote, but it will have to be by agreement, not by going it alone." Many things have changed since October 2017 when the Catalan regional government staged a referendum banned by Madrid and then issued a short-lived declaration of independence, triggering Spain's worst political crisis in decades.
Those behind the move were arrested, tried and jailed while others fled abroad to avoid prosecution, leaving the separatist movement decapitated and deeply at odds over how to move forward.
Since the last round of talks, there has been a shake-up within Catalonia's separatist-dominated leadership, with the moderate leftist ERC taking over the regional coalition and its hardline counterpart JxC taking a junior role.
This had an immediate effect.
Within weeks, the Spanish government had pardoned the jailed separatist leaders and agreed to resume top-level talks on resolving the Catalan crisis.