Barcelona (ACN).- The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, and the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, met on Thursday morning for the first time since Mas was re-elected president and the Catalan Parliament approved a Declaration of Sovereignty of the People of Catalonia. The meeting had been scheduled following the protocol tradition of visiting the King a few weeks after taking office as President of the Catalan Government. It took place at La Zarzuela Palace, the King’s official residence and the place where he regularly holds meetings, apart from the main State ceremonies. They met for 45 minutes and none of the participants officially commented on the meeting just after it had finished. However, Mas, once in Barcelona, referred to it during a literary prize ceremony in the evening. The Catalan President underlined that “we will always have to go and explain ourselves” regarding Catalonia’s self-determination process. However, this is positive according to him, as it proves Catalonia’s “willingness to always talk”. Besides, Mas also explained that he discussed the current deficit targets imposed on the Autonomous Communities with the monarch, which are not allowing them to guarantee the Welfare State, since they are too strict and these public bodies are those exclusively managing basic public services in Spain including healthcare, education and social policies.
During the ‘Ramon Llull’ literary award ceremony, which was held in the Generalitat Palace in Barcelona on Thursday evening, Mas insisted that in Catalonia’s self-determination process, the Catalan society demands “dialogue” between both parts – Catalan self-determination supporters and those that deny this right. This “willingness to talk” is precisely what the Catalan Government is asking the Spanish Executive for, but for the moment it only finds doors closed. In addition, Mas insisted that Catalans “will always have to go and explain ourselves”, in order to build a “constructive and pedagogical base” to make Catalonia’s right to self-determination understandable. In this sense, Mas framed the meeting with the King of Spain to this end, in order to build this “pedagogical base”.
Before the meeting with the King of Spain, Artur Mas, briefly talked to the press while he was waiting for the monarch. Since this Thursday was Mas’ birthday, he joked about it and said that today’s meeting “is not a gift but part of the work, courtesy and, above all, dialogue” that is shared between the Catalan Government and the main Spanish institutions, such as the King’s House. When the King arrived, Mas asked him about his health and how was he feeling. The monarch answered “very well” and they exchanged a few other words. They both stood up for the photo session and then they went to the King’s office to talk.
The exact content of the talk is not known, but it has been disclosed that Mas and Juan Carlos I discussed Catalonia’s political situation and the self-determination process. They also talked about the latest electoral results and fiscal consolidation measures, in particular about the austerity measures and the deficit targets imposed by the Spanish Government.