If the dialogue table between the Spanish and Catalan governments fails to meet - yet again - it's not the fault of the Sánchez executive, but rather, the Catalan administration. This is the message being conveyed from the Moncloa palace in Madrid this Tuesday afternoon. Earlier today, Pedro Sánchez said that he was prepared to call the much-neglected bilateral forum during the month of September, following the failed commitment to hold a meeting in July. "The problem is not the government, but Mr Torra, who does not want it to meet or raises conditions on its meeting that are out of touch with reality," said Spanish government spokesperson María Jesús Montero.
At a press conference after today's weekly meeting of the Spanish cabinet, the Socialist minister reiterated that "from the outset" the government has been "available" to meet, ever since July. In response to the current situation, Montero pointed to Quim Torra's Catalan government allies, the ERC: "I would say to ERC that, if they want the table to meet, the first thing they have to do is talk to Mr Torra." And she also chose to get in a comment on the current leadership changes involving the JxCat and PDeCAT parties: "Well, I don't know if it's with Torra, Puigdemont or Artur Mas."
With regard to the Catalan government's condition - that if a meeting is held, its agenda should include Catalan self-determination and an amnesty for those imprisoned or facing reprisals - the minister reiterated that she would rather talk about "points of encounter" than "red lines". Even so, she said, these are issues far removed from reality. "On these questions, our position has been very clear. The important thing is that if the ERC thinks it should meet, it should convince the president."
As for the words of president Torra, who says he would be willing to disobey judicial instructions for the third time if disqualified from office by the Supreme Court, the Spanish spokeswoman limited herself to an assertion that "Mr Torra, like any president, is expected to show full compliance with the law”. Otherwise, "justice will act against those who do not uphold it."
Catalan government's conditions
Moments earlier, Catalonia's presidency minister and spokesperson, Meritxell Budó, had stressed that the dialogue table was seriously affected by whether it was possible to talk about the right to self-determination and an amnesty for political prisoners. "The resolution of the political conflict requires dialogue between the two governments. It also requires consideration of an amnesty for the prisoners and self-determination," Budó stressed in the press conference after the Catalan cabinet meeting.