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The leader of the Catalan Socialists (PSC), Salvador Illa, has today dished out more invective against the dialogue table​ on the Spain-Catalonia political conflict. In an interview in El Heraldo de Aragón, Illa asserted that there will be no referendum on the independence of Catalonia "in 2030, or even in 2040", and stated his preference for considering the conflict between Catalonia and the Spanish state as a purely internal Catalan question. To this end, he advocated opening a dialogue table, but in Catalonia and between the Catalan parties.

"There will be no referendum for independence in 2030, or even in 2040. There won't be one because Catalonia needs political policies that unite Catalans. We demand a table at which Catalans have dialogue among ourselves, find a point of consensus, and after that, I have no problem with that agreement being ratified by a vote. But I think voting for a rupture is not the right path to take now," he said.

Iceta on the dialogue table

Illa has also suggested that the current Spanish minister of culture and sports, Miquel Iceta, whom Illa replaced as the PSC candidate for the Catalan presidency last February, should be part of the dialogue table on the Spanish government side. "Iceta is a suitable person to be part of this table, the Catalan Socialists would feel very flattered," he said. 

On the other hand, the PSC leader hinted that the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, will not attend the dialogue table meeting, and criticized Catalan president Pere Aragonès for demanding it. "I find it a bit bold on the part of Mr Aragonès to start giving lessons when it's so false. It was he who was the only one who didn't attend the autonomous community presidents' conference in July in Salamanca, leaving the Catalan chair empty," he said.

Despite these criticisms, Illa opened the door to negotiate the Catalan government's next budget with Aragonès, arguing that "Catalonia does not deserve to be without a budget."

The PSC leader used the interview to praise the policies of the president of Aragon, the fellow Socialist Javier Lambán, and called for the presentation of a joint candidacy between Aragon and Catalonia for the 2030 Winter Olympics. "It is a very important challenge for Aragon and Catalonia, an excellent reason to strengthen ties between the communities. We are very much in favour of trying to hold these Olympic Games. It is an issue that I have studied with Lambán," he explained.