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Breakthrough in Catalan autonomy talks

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Breakthrough in Catalan autonomy talks


After talks which ran late into Saturday night leaders of a major Catalan party have reached agreement with the national government over a dispute which had held up a deal on greater autonomy.

The two sides disagreed over the use of the word “nation” in a statue to give Catalonia heightened powers of self rule. Catalan nationalists want the new legislation to recognise the wealthynortheastern region as a nation within Spain. That is a step too far for conservatives who see the move as a threat to Spanish unity. It is reported Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero agreed to a compromise where the term “nation” would appear only in the preamble of the statute and that the word “nationality” would be used in the body of the text. Following the agreement with Catalonia’s centre right CIU group Zapatero is set for talks with other parties of the region today. The prime minister has been accused by opponents of favouring Catalan nationalists on the autonomy question as they support his minority government in the national parliament.
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