Spain: round table between Madrid and Barcelona
The Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and the Catalan President Quim Torra began talks on Wednesday aimed at resolving the Catalan conflict. The discussion focused first of all on formalities such as the frequency of meetings and the venues where they should take place. Expectations for the talks voiced in the Spanish press vary.
At least the dialogue has begun
Although the positions are diametrically opposed the start of the talks is good news, writes El Periódico de Catalunya:
“Above all enormous differences have become apparent between the central government's delegation, which wants to talk about concrete issues (44 points for negotiation presented by Sánchez), and the regional government, which wants to talk about self-determination and amnesty for the imprisoned [Catalan separatists]. These are not minor differences, and the abyss they create between the two sides highlights how big the task this round table faces is. But in spite of this the dialogue has begun. And as long as it continues it will remain the framework (negotiations between politicians and elected representatives) within which the political Catalonian conflict is fought out.”
Talks no good without concrete goals
Dialogue is not an end in itself, La Vanguardia observes:
“Beyond their own interests, the negotiating partners must not forget that what counts most are the interests of the citizens, a majority of whom are in favour of dialogue. A dialogue that doesn't merely consist of formal meetings but that must strive for tangible goals. For example stabilising the political situation, creating the conditions for the administration to function as effectively as can be, and solving as many of the problems that are affecting the citizens as possible. Politics is not a game in which shrewd politicians outwit each other, but a service to the people.”