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Still short of the votes he needs, Pedro Sánchez has nonetheless already sent his proposed 2019 budget to Brussels. In a special meeting of the Spanish cabinet, the ministers this Monday approved the prime minister's draft. Tonight is the deadline the European Commission gave member states to submit their accounts for next year. So far, however, PSOE has only reached an agreement with Podemos, not with Catalan pro-independence parties PDeCAT and ERC, whose votes they almost certainly need to get it past the Congress.

As in last Thursday's press conference, the government's spokesperson, Isabel Celaá, made it clear that there will be no deal involving the Catalan political prisoners, whom she called an "imprisoned population". The minister said that "the legitimate authorities of Catalonia are so because they represent a state under the rule of law" and that this involves the separation of powers. Celaá said that the public prosecution service is autonomous and that the government cannot give it instructions over the charges it should bring in any given case.

She noted that this afternoon was the first meeting in seven year of the bilateral Spain-Catalonia infrastructure commission.

For her part, treasury minister María Jesús Montero explained that they will next speak with Basque nationalist party EAJ, as they have shown the "most willingness" to talk. "We won't exclude anyone who hasn't excluded themselves", she said, a reference to PP and Ciudadanos.

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