Torra urges Rajoy to ‘fix time and place’ for first meeting
Newly elected Catalan president visits Carles Puigdemont in Berlin
Catalan president Quim Torra has called on his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy for a first meeting since the pro-independence MP was elected on Monday, more than six months after his predecessor Carles Puigdemont was deposed following a declaration of independence.
"Please, Mr Rajoy, fix a time and place. We'll be there. Without preconditions, let's talk. I repeated a thousand times the word 'dialogue' in my speeches. We'll do everything in our power to engage in a frank and open dialogue with the Spanish government," Torra said.
A day after being sworn in as head of government, Torra met with Puigdemont in Berlin, where the deposed president is seeking refuge from prosecution in Spain. Puigdemont chose Torra as his successor after courts blocked his attempts to retake the post from abroad.
"I hope that the Spanish government will accept the offer to initiate dialogue with mutual respect, in order to find a political solution to this political conflict"
Carles Puigdemont · Deposed Catalan president
Puigdemont referred to Torra's election as "an opportunity for the Spanish government to show that it respects the results of the ballot boxes and that it has understood that the only possibility to find a solution is to recognize 'the other' and open a political dialogue."
He also urged Rajoy to accept Torra's call for a meeting: "I hope that the Spanish government will accept the offer to initiate dialogue with mutual respect, in order to find a political solution to this political conflict"
Moreover, the deposed president also called on European institutions and EU member states to intervene in order to help find a solution to the political standoff between Catalonia and Spain. "It's not only an internal affair of Spain but a European issue," he said. "It affects all of the EU, which should get involved in order to help find a solution."
An end to direct rule
The two pro-independence leaders also asked the Spanish government to put an end to direct rule in Catalonia, in force since last October, and which was expected to finalize with the appointment of a new Catalan president.
Torra plans to create a special commission in order to analyze the consequences of direct rule. According to his predecessor, this will benefit all Catalan citizens. "Article 155, designed to punish pro-independence politicians, has harmed everyone. Everyone. So, the commission to recover from its effects will benefit everyone," said Puigdemont.