World Spain restarts talks to resolve Catalan secession crisis
Catalan separatists to test unity ahead of Madrid talks
Catalonia's deeply divided separatist movement will put its mobilisation skills to the test Saturday as the northeastern region celebrates its national day ahead of fresh talks with Spain's government. Those behind the move were arrested, tried and sentenced to long jail terms by Spain's top court, while others fled abroad to avoid prosecution, leaving the movement deeply disappointed and sharply at odds over how to proceed. "Since 2017, morale has hit a real low, but the fact that there were political prisoners (in jail) gave them something to keep fighting for," Berta Barbet, a political scientist from Barcelona's Autonomous University, told AFP.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spain’s prime minister and Catalonia's leader met Wednesday to restart negotiations in hopes of finding a solution to the ongoing political crisis caused by the region’s separatist movement.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez sat down with regional president Pere Aragonès at the seat of the Catalan government in downtown Barcelona.
Catalan separatists to take streets ahead of Madrid talks
Catalan separatists are expected to jam the streets of Barcelona on Saturday in a test of their strength ahead of fresh negotiations with Spain's government. The protest coincides with Catalonia's national day, or "Diada", which commemorates the 1714 fall of Barcelona in the War of the Spanish Succession and the region's subsequent loss of institutions. As in other years, the march will get underway at 17:14 (1514 GMT) -- a nod to the year 1714. The slogan this year is: "We will fight for independence and win".At its peak in 2014, the annual demonstration brought an estimated 1.8 million people onto the streets.
Expectations are low for any huge advances from the meeting which has caused a rift within the separatist camp. Aragonès and his Republican Left of Catalonia party call the talks a “historic opportunity.”
But leaders of the junior party in Aragonès’ government have publicly voiced their doubts about the chances that there will be any real gains for the separatists. The influential grassroots group National Catalan Assembly goes further, saying that the talks will only serve to derail their cause.
The talks come with 7.5 million Catalans entrenched into two roughly equal camps. Polls and election results over the past five years consistently show that half of Catalonia wants to remain in Spain, while the other half wants to sever all ties.
Spain: The Catalan Independentists Scroll to Defend Secession
© AFP - Pau Barrena On September 11, the Catalan Independentists paradeed in the streets of Barcelona, for the day of the "Diada", the Catalan National Day. As every September 11 for almost ten years, Catalan Independents scrolled in the streets of Barcelona despite the pandemic and demobilization due to internal tensions and the lack of clear roadmap to reach their secession goal.
Sánchez inherited the political conundrum when he took office in 2018, not a year after the leaders of Catalonia’s government and separatist grassroots groups failed in a unilateral breakaway bid that violated the Spanish Constitution.
In a bold move to reduce tensions, the Socialist leader took the decision in June to pardon the nine imprisoned instigators of the 2017 secession attempt. Both the pardons and the talks have been heavily criticized by Spain’s right-wing parties.
Spain PM in Barcelona to reopen Catalan separatist talks
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visits Barcelona Wednesday to resume dialogue with Catalonia's separatist leadership on resolving the political crisis triggered by the region's 2017 failed independence bid. "I will lead this negotiation on behalf of the Spanish government," Sanchez said late Monday, confirming he would meet Catalan leader Pere Aragones on September 15 for talks on the region's political situation. Since the crisis of"I will lead this negotiation on behalf of the Spanish government," Sanchez said late Monday, confirming he would meet Catalan leader Pere Aragones on September 15 for talks on the region's political situation.
Now, heading into the meeting in Barcelona, Sánchez said that he would insist on finding ways to improve the economic and social wellbeing of Catalans, while firmly denying any separatist claims to sovereignty.
Aragonès has insisted that the only issues on the table are the possibility of Spain authorizing a referendum on independence, and a general amnesty of all those separatists in trouble with the law.
After years of scant dialogue between Catalonia’s leaders and Spain’s then ruling conservatives, Sánchez met with Aragonès’ predecessor, Quim Torra, in February 2020 in Madrid. The outcome of that meeting was to agree to hold meetings once a month. But those were put on hold by the pandemic, which struck Spain just weeks after.
Volcano erupts on Atlantic island; lava destroys some homes
LOS LLANOS DE ARIDANE, Spain (AP) — A volcano on Spain’s Atlantic Ocean island of La Palma erupted Sunday after a weeklong buildup of seismic activity, prompting authorities to evacuate thousands as lava flows destroyed isolated houses and threatened to reach the coast. New eruptions continued into the night. © Provided by Associated Press Lava flows from an eruption of a volcano at the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021.
Catalan leader Puigdemont strolls in Sardinia after release .
ALGHERO, Sardinia (AP) — Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont took a leisurely walk Saturday in Sardinia, waving to supporters on the Italian island a day after a judge freed him from jail pending a hearing on his extradition to Spain to face sedition charges. Puigdemont, a member of the European Union's parliament who previously served as president of Spain's restive Catalonia region, attended a Catalan cultural festival and had a meeting scheduled later Saturday with the region's current president and deputy.