The dialogue between Catalan vice-president Pere Aragonès and acting deputy Spanish prime minister Carmen Calvo was one of the topics that drew questions and interest in the press conference he gave early this morning in Madrid.
Aragonès said that he spoke directly with Calvo a couple of times last week, beyond communicating through other channels, whilst prime minister Pedro Sánchez refused to respond to president Torra's calls. He argued that paths for negotiations need to be opened and said they had discussed the situation in Catalonia, but insisted that their talks could not replace dialogue between the two heads of government.
"I already know that Sánchez doesn't like Torra. I guess the reverse is similar. But that's what there is. You don't choose who you have to talk to," he said. Aragonès called repeatedly for the prime minister to answer the phone and not let himself get stuck on "short-term" measures and calculations regarding next month's general election.
The vice-president consistently avoided feeding the image of differences within the Catalan government with regards to the strategy of dialogue with Madrid and said that he keeps president Torra informed of his talks with Calvo. "The president of Catalonia isn't chosen by public opinion in Madrid, they're chosen by the citizens of Catalonia. They should be clear about that. The dialogue has to be with the president. We aren't going to weaken Catalonia's institutions, we're going to strengthen them, and we're going to strengthen our project," he said.