Spain unblocks Catalonia's finances as goodwill gesture before dialogue

The Spanish government has lifted financial controls over the northeastern Catalonia region as a goodwill gesture before new administrations in Madrid and Barcelona sit down for talks, AP reports. Central authorities had been supervising Catalan finances since 2015 to ensure no public money was funding illegal pro-independence activities. Madrid’s stamp of approval was required for every payment under additional controls imposed last year. Government spokeswoman Isabel Celaa described Friday’s decision as “a gesture of political normalization.” The new socialist prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, plans to establish dialogue with a new Catalan regional government