Torra and Sánchez agree to hold talks on a monthly basis

The summit lasted almost three hours and the two governments issued a joint statement

The Catalan and Spanish delegations met for nearly three hours at Madrid’s Moncloa Palace on the first day of negotiations. The meeting ended shortly before eight o’clock in the evening, with the President of the Catalan government, Quim Torra, being the first to make a public statement. He gave a press conference in the Moncloa newsroom, the first time a Catalan president has done so since February 2012, following a meeting between the then Catalan and Spanish presidents, Artur Mas and Mariano Rajoy.

Torra’s press conference was held in the larger of two rooms, one which is usually reserved for members of the Spanish government, the leader of the opposition —PP’s Pablo Casado used it last week— and for Sánchez's appearances with visiting foreign leaders. Torra had asked to use it instead of appearing at the Centre Blanquerna, the Catalan government’s headquarters in Madrid, a request which the Moncloa agreed to in order to accommodate the large number of attending journalists, as its other press room is much smaller. Those present were also provided with simultaneous translation from Catalan to Spanish.

A joint statement was released following the summit, declaring it to have been "positive" and agreeing to hold one on a "monthly" basis, alternating between Madrid and Barcelona.

The meeting began shortly before 5 pm in the Moncloa’s Tàpies room. On one side of the table —narrow, glass, rectangular, with no microphones— the Catalan team consisting of President Quim Torra; Vice President Pere Aragonès; ministers Alfred Bosch and Jordi Puigneró; the Deputy General Secretary of ERC, Marta Vilalta; the leader of JxCat on Barcelona City Council, Elsa Artadi; the Director General of the Presidency, Josep Rius, and the MP and President of ERC’s National Council, Josep Maria Jové. On the other side of the table were the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez; the first Deputy PM, Carmen Calvo, and five ministers: Salvador Illa, Manuel Castells, Carolina Darias, María Jesús Montero and José Luis Ábalos. The latter left shortly after the meeting began to appear before the congressional transport commission at his own request. The second Deputy PM, Pablo Iglesias, was unable to attend due to a bout of tonsillitis.

A very ‘important’ meeting

Before taking a train to Madrid, President Torra visited the SuperComputing Center in Barcelona on Wednesday morning, where he referred to the afternoon's meeting as "very important" and insisted that he would attend in order to defend the right to self-determination and amnesty. Torra announced that he was "about to go on a very important trip to Madrid. Today the government of Catalonia is going to Madrid to uphold its principles, which are the exercise of the right to self-determination and amnesty".

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