King Meets With Separatist Leader

Last week King Felipe met with Catalan President Artur Mas, an encounter that received wide media attention because of its political repercussions.

Mas is helping lead a movement to secede from Spain following the Autonomous Community’s elections later this year.

The King, on the other hand, is seen as a symbol of Spanish unity, historical continuity and geographic integrity.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey
© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Mas did not comment after or before his meeting, according to media outlets, only to say that he went with the spirit of peace.

The Royal Household tried to describe the meeting as one of many the King was having with leaders from different Spanish localities.

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King Meets With Now Separatist Leader

King Juan Carlos met this week with Catalonian President Artur Mas, who is pursuing a referendum on whether to declare independence from Spain.

20130131 audiencia presidente generalitat cataluña 01

Little news came of the highly anticipated meeting, where Mas was to present the King with his plans. Don Juan Carlos has spoken out against pro-sovereignty moves.

Media sources noted that the King was serious when receiving the autonomic leader. The two spoke for about 45 minutes.

A Tough Encounter

Prince Felipe of Asturias and Girona was in Catalonia today, including Girona, inaugurating the new high speed train connection with France.

The event was much anticipated because it was a chance for the Prince and Spanish Government President Mariano Rajoy to meet with Catalonian president Artur Mas, who has been on an increasingly deepening quest for independence.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Central government representatives used the event to highlight the importance of Catalonia within Spain, and show the train as an investment in the region.

But local officials said it was too little, too late.

King Meets With Catalonian Leader

King Juan Carlos met with Catalonian President Artur Mas during the Monarch’s trip to Barcelona today.

It was a much anticipated — and in some quarters dreaded — meeting between both men. It comes amid Mas calling for early elections in the Autonomous Community of Catalonia and fanning pro-independence flames.

King Juan Carlos with Mas sitting to his right.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

The King traveled to the Catalonian capital to hand out the Count of Barcelona award to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Count of Barcelona is one of King Juan Carlos’ titles.

His Majesty, who had already released an open letter calling for unity among all Spaniards, expressed optimism about the country’s economic future.

He called the economic and political situation “grave” but said Catalonians and all Spaniards “are capable of overcoming these circumstances.” He also spoke in catalán for good measure.

Earlier this week the King was in New York attending the annual meeting of former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative, where he met with other heads of state and world leaders.

King Juan Carlos speaks with former President Bill Clinton.

Meanwhile, members of the Royal Family have resumed a busy agenda. Today, for example, Queen Sofia attended a gathering of backers of the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid.

Queen Sofia at the museum.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos