Socialist premier steps in to try to break Catalonia impasse

Susana Díaz discusses party's own proposal for a constitutional reform with Artur Mas

Susana Díaz and Artur Mas before their meeting on Monday.
Susana Díaz and Artur Mas before their meeting on Monday.ALBERT GARCÍA

Stepping in as an unexpected mediator, Andalusia's Socialist premier Susana Díaz on Monday asked her embattled Catalan counterpart Artur Mas to look for a definitive solution to break the political impasse between his government and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy over a proposed referendum on independence for the region.

Díaz invited Mas to a private lunch to discuss options, including her party's own proposal for a constitutional reform that would give all regions more authority over their political, social and judicial affairs.

"The only way to avoid a train wreck is to look at alternate routes for reform and dialogue," Díaz said in Barcelona. She also called on both Rajoy and Mas to "start moving" toward breaking the political deadlock.

She said that the transferring of powers the central government currently holds in the regions would avoid any surprise policies in the future, as was the case with the reform introduced by Education Minister José Ignacio Wert, which establishes that classes in public schools in Catalonia must be taught primarily in Castilian Spanish.

"Catalonia's current financial scheme is unfair and insufficient, as is also the case in Andalusia," she added.

Mas has complained that Catalonia provides more revenue than any other region to the central government but does not receive adequate financing in return.


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