The Catalan government is downplaying the public messages that arrive from the Pedro Sánchez executive indicating that the dialogue table meeting which had been proposed for before the end of this year will not be held. After Spanish prime ministerial circles fobbed off the question, asserting that dialogue with Catalonia had already been completed, sources at the Palau de la Generalitat in Barcelona responded by placing this type of comment in the context of the usual gesticulation that comes from Madrid and assuring that the meeting will be held.
"The best guide in these cases are the facts. The Spanish government and its prime minister have always denied the these meetings until 24 hours before they are held. Many of the steps that have been taken have been said to be difficult and yet they have ended up happening", say Catalan presidency sources, who assert that the negotiation process, beyond the formal meetings of the dialogue table, is continuing.
According to these sources, the Catalan executive led Catalan Republican Left (ERC) has been using all the elements of "democratic pressure" at its disposal and intends to continue using the party's MPs in the Spanish Congress to force the government to take steps, just as they have done "whenever it seemed that the Spanish leadership did not want to keep its word."
The dialogue table last met in July this year. At that meeting, the desire to put an end to the judicialization of politics was reiterated, but without going into specifics. In fact, it was agreed that the specific proposals should materialize at a new meeting of the table to be held before the end of the year. During this interval, the governing PSOE has, with coalition partners Podemos and alllies ERC, promoted the Penal Code reform, with the repeal of sedition and the changes to aggravated public disorder. In addition, last week Sánchez assured that there would be no new referendum - as ERC backs with a proposal that they are to debate at their next party congress - and that, in fact, the independence process is over. This Thursday, from the Moncloa government palace they reiterated the assertion that the process "has already been completed" and that ERC, by agreeing to the reform of the Penal Code negotiated with the PSOE, has recognized that the 1st October referendum is a crime.
By contrast, the Catalan government affirms that not only has the process not ended, but that with the Clarity Agreement promoted by the president, Pere Aragonès, a debate has once again been generated and this issue has been returned to the political agenda.
In relation to the budget negotiations, which the Catalan government is continuing with the Catalan Socialists (PSC) and Together for Catalonia (Junts), the presidency ensures that the talks are well advanced and that the groups already have in their hands the proposed final agreement as a result of the talks, so the approval of the budget depends on the "political will" of the parties.