Catalan president Quim Torra and Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez have in the end met this evening in Barcelona's Pedralbes palace, first alone and then accompanied by two cabinet members each. The two governments didn't manage to agree if the meeting was a summit or a meeting between heads of government, but did agree on a joint statement on the "existence of a conflict over the future of Catalonia" and the need for dialogue.
The two governments "maintain notable differences" as to the origin of, nature of and paths to solving the conflict, the statement says, but share "above all" the need to guarantee "effective dialogue" to enable a political proposal. For this reason, they will "continue developing the spaces for dialogue" needed to respond to society's needs and to move forwards towards a democratic response.
Spanish territorial minister Meritxell Batet said, in a press conference after the meeting, that this understanding was possible within a framework of legal security. She said that the Spanish government is not shying away from the problem and for that reason they have come to Barcelona to move forwards towards an agreement within the framework of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy and the Spanish Constitution. They want to offer "responses to the real problems of Catalan society".
As for the topic of Catalan calls for a referendum on self-determination, she said that it wasn't brought up, nor would the situation be solved with a binary question. "Our position on a referendum, obviously, hasn't changed," she said.
The governments have both urged that there be another meeting in January to continue their work. For Catalonia, this would involve vice-president Pere Aragonès and minister Elsa Artadi.