MADRID – Catalan separatists want dialogue with government before budget negotiations.

Catalan separatists of Esquerra Republicana de Cataluña (ERC, Republican Left of Catalonia) requested on Thursday that the dialogue between the central Government and the Catalan  (Generalitat) be resumed in mid-September as a prerequisite for the negotiations of Spain’s future national budget, EFE reported.

On Thursday, Spain’s socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez (PSOE), and ERC leader in the Spanish parliament, Gabriel Rufián, met in Madrid’s Moncloa Palace to discuss ERC’s position ahead of the difficult negotiations which should lead to the approval of the budget in October this year.

After the meeting, government spokesperson and Finance Minister María Jesús Montero stressed that the coalition executive (PSOE and leftist Unidas Podemos (United We Can) has  “no problem” in convening a dialogue with the Generalitat “as soon as possible”.

“We want to promote dialogue in Catalonia from the beginning of the legislature and resume the reunion agenda. This government has always been available to reconvene the ‘dialogue table’ and we want to express that availability”, she said.

The next step would be for Sánchez and the president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, to set a date to resume the talks, she added.

Sánchez held a fresh round of meetings with all political parties to seek their support before the key voting session in October.

The Partido Popular (PP) has refused to support a “leftist”, “republican”government, while centrist Ciudadanos (Citizens), expressed its willingness to negotiate a “moderate” budget, which – among other “red lines” – should not include tax hikes and should strive to mitigate the impact of the crisis on Spain’s working and middle classes. (EUROEFE)

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