Within hours of Spain's deputy prime minister, Carmen Calvo, issuing the Catalan government with an ultimatum over the possibility of talks, Catalonia's vice-president, Pere Aragonès, and presidency minister, Elsa Artadi, have given their response. In a press conference, they blamed Pedro Sánchez's government for breaking off negotiations looking to set up a dialogue to find a solution to the situation in Catalonia. "We regret that the Spanish government has decided to abandon the dialogue," Artadi said.
"It's the Spanish state that has broken off, has abandoned the dialogue space," Aragonès said. He insisted repeatedly that the Catalan government won't leave the table and will continue calling for a negotiated solution.
#Vicepresident @perearagones: “És el govern de l’Estat qui ha trencat i abandonat l’espai de diàleg. Nosaltres no ho fem. Nosaltres seguirem a la taula de diàleg. No acceptarem que se’ns demani la renúncia a les nostres conviccions per seure a una taula a negociar” pic.twitter.com/i6mBwiZuQ0— Govern. Generalitat (@govern) 8 de febrero de 2019
The Catalan government says that there were messages and calls in both directions up until last night, but without results. At half past one this afternoon they received the last proposal from Madrid, but Calvo had made her announcement before they could respond.
They say that Madrid had called on them to drop their opposition to the budget to keep the conversations going. "It's clear, and we regret, that the Spanish government has yielded to the pressure from the right and far-right Spanish nationalists," Artadi said.
"We won't accept that they should ask us to renounce our convictions, our projects as a condition for us to sit down to negotiate," Aragonès concluded.