At today's parliamentary control session, President Torra said he would pass on a request, backed by the majority of Catalan deputies, for negotiations to include a mediator.
President Torra during the parliamentary control session. Photograph: Rubén Moreno

In a parliamentary control session held today, the president of the Government of Catalonia, Quim Torra, said the process of negotiating with the Spanish government must be governed by three key principles: “responsibility, the strength of unity, and respect for the decisions taken by the Catalan Parliament in representation of citizens”.

The head of the executive emphasised that the decisions of the chamber are “mandates” for him, and that just as Parliament voted to conclude a national agreement on the exercise of Catalonia’s right to self-determination and amnesty, now Catalan lawmakers have requested that negotiations with the Spanish government include a mediator.

“It’s not the president of the Government of Catalonia who’s asking for a mediator; it’s the majority of members of the Parliament of Catalonia who have requested an international mediator.” The president said he would pass on this demand, and that if the other side does not agree, “it will up to the Parliament of Catalonia to decide how to proceed”.

Also in reference to the negotiation process, the head of the executive said that “dialogue in and of itself is pointless”, and that it will only serve a useful purpose if there is an objective and a methodical approach. “Otherwise, we could end up trivialising the word ‘dialogue’.” He stressed the importance of establishing “a method, objectives and guarantees” to ensure that the dialogue “bears fruit”.

The president said there was an “absolute consensus” among members of the Executive Council on the need to start talks in two forums: “a negotiating table to address the root of the political conflict, which is a matter of sovereignty and putting an end to repression” and “a bilateral commission to deal with all the other issues related to management of competencies”.

“At least 40 of Prime Minister Sánchez’s proposals need to go to this bilateral commission because they don’t address the heart of the political conflict.” The president said that Alfred Bosch, the Minister for Foreign Action, Institutional Relations and Transparency, is preparing a proposed agenda for the bilateral commission.

At another point in the control session, the president welcomed a cross-party agreement that will allow the Catalan budget to move forward, stressing that the budget was an “absolutely essential tool” for Catalonia. He said that passing the budget before the end of the legislature was a priority, and that the government was committed to accomplishing this.