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The Catalan government's spokesperson, Elsa Artadi, has said that the question of whether president Quim Torra will attend the opening of the Mediterranean Games in Tarragona is still undecided. The minister warned, however, that the monarch shouldn't expect a "formal visit of smiling and a handshake" after his support for the police repression of Catalans trying to vote in last year's referendum.

Friday's ceremony is expected to be presided over by Spanish king Felipe VI, accompanied by the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez. Sánchez said as much in an interview yesterday, but it is as of yet unconfirmed by the royal household, nor does it appear on the monarch's agenda. The question is under close consideration by the president, given that the decision will set the tone for his relationship with the monarchy. At the end of the month, Felipe VI is to return to Catalonia to present the Princess of Girona awards, although not in Girona.

"We've just evaluated [the decision]. The relationship between the Catalan government and the crown and in particular with the king after his speech on 3rd October -which we don't see he has explained- cannot be the same as before October. We cannot pretend that the king didn't take part in the violence against citizens", said the spokesperson, who called for "reflection and a change of attitude" and for the monarch to "evaluate everything that has happened since 1st October, with an absolute democratic relapse in the Spanish state".

In the minister's opinion, the monarch's speech validated the "a por ellos wave" ("go get them"), which she described as "seriously irresponsible and great negligence" which "conditions relations between the Catalan government and the Spanish state".

Artadi said that "the affront isn't against the Catalan government, but against the people of Catalonia" because the king "decided to express publicly that it seemed fine to him for the Catalan people to be attacked".

To overcome this situation, the government calls for a "change of direction and to recover the spirit which the father of the current king had some years ago". "Is there room improvement? Enormous room", she said, noting that 60% of Catalans give the monarch a score of 0 out of 10.

Artadi also announced that the royal household hasn't yet spoken with the Catalan government.

Right to protest against the king

Given the possibility there might be protests against the monarch's presence in Tarragona, she said that "the people have the right to demonstrate and express their feelings".

As for the first meeting between Torra and Pedro Sánchez, she said it will take place in July, when the president returns from his trip to the United States. By coincidence, Artadi said she had received a call from Spanish territorial policy minister Meritxell Batet, with whom she is organising the meeting, just before the press conference, which she wasn't able to take.

Meeting with Iglesias

The leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, has also been in contact with the Catalan government, looking for a date to meet with the Catalan president in the near future. This meeting could even take place before the one with Sánchez.