The negotiation table aimed at resolving the political deadlock between the Catalan and Spanish governments will begin next Wednesday, February 26, after Pedro Sánchez accepted this date proposed by Quim Torra. Torra had rejected Pedro Sánchez’s proposal of kicking off the bilateral negotiation table on Monday for “reasons of a personal and private nature,” and had instead suggested five alternative dates to begin the talks.

The Spanish leader had put forward next Monday, February 24, as the first day of talks, but on Thursday morning the Catalan executive rejected this. Torra lamented that Madrid put a “unilateral” date on the beginning of the talks and insisted that the dates must be agreed upon together.

In a letter he sent to Sánchez on Thursday morning, the Catalan president regretted that the dialogue “did not start off well” and reproached his Spanish counterpart that proposing dates through the press “was not the way to show that he wants honest and fruitful dialogue.”

Regarding the content of the meeting, Torra outlined that he wants to discuss the right to self-determination, the end of repression, and an amnesty for the jailed pro-indeoendence leaders, while the letter also includes the proposal of “international mediation.”

Mediator needed?

Sánchez, who says the negotiation table is a “significant step forward,” has suggested discussing subjects that will “most easily” be agreed upon first. Despite this dispute over the date of the meeting, Torra assured that he is ready to kick off the dialogue “as soon as possible.”

Torra will meet with Catalan vice president, Pere Aragonès, to discuss details of the negotiation table with the Spanish government. The figure of the mediator continues to separate Torra and Aragonès.

Elsewhere, the universities minister in Sánchez’s government, Manuel Castells, will form part of the negotiation table. The sociologist will be joined at the dialogue table by Spanish president Pedro Sánchez and Podemos leader and Spanish second vice president, Pablo Iglesias.

The negotiation table between the two cabinets was secured by pro-independence ERC, who are partners of Quim Torra’s Junts per Catalunya party in the Catalan government.  Esquerra abstained in the voting to name Pedro Sánchez as the Spanish president, which facilitated the Socialist leader to become Spain’s figurehead.