Catalan leader invites Spanish president to talks in Brussels
Carles Puigdemont’s offer to meet Mariano Rajoy in Belgium is roundly rejected by state government spokesmen
The Catalan president in exile in Belgium, Carles Puigdemont, has invited Spanish president Mariano Rajoy to meet in Brussels for talks. In an interview on Friday morning with German radio station, 'Deutschlandfunk', the ousted president insisted that he has consistently offered to negotiate and that at some point “this dialogue has to take place.”
Puigdemont, who is the main candidate for the Together for Catalonia ticket in the December 21 election, also said that it is Rajoy who has continuously refused to sit at the negotiation table. The Catalan leader also predicted that if the majority in the Catalan parliament is unchanged after the election, it will mean that the state will have “lost” the political battle.
Yet, rather than Rajoy, it was the Spanish government spokesman, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, who responded to Puigdemont’s invitation to talk. “The person who mister Puigdemont should talk to is [Xavier] Garcia Albiol, who he will face at the ballot box in the election,” said the spokesman. Garcia Albiol is the leader of the Catalan branch of Rajoy’s People’s Party.
“The person who mister Puigdemont should talk to is [Xavier] Garcia Albiol, who he will face at the ballot box in the election”
Íñigo Méndez de Vigo · Spanish government spokesman
Méndez de Vigo was critical of Puigdemont, accusing him of “avoiding debate as always” with his decision to go into exile in Brussels. According to the Spanish spokesman, what Puigdemont should rather do is explain why he has risked “the loss of prestige and reputation” for Catalonia with a political project “that has found zero support in Europe.”
The rejection of Puigdemont’s offer was later confirmed when Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Alfonso Dastis was asked whether the Spanish president would travel to Belgium to talk to the Catalan president. “What do you think?” answered Dastis. “Mister Puigdemont continues with his fantasies but the political reality in Catalonia and Madrid is going elsewhere. Brussels is not a geographical location we need consider,” added the minister.