(See Bloomberg’s interview with Artur Mas: http://t.co/uXuH2Ed26e)
This has been the Generalitat’s position all along: “accept the referendum, then we’ll talk.” It has gotten nowhere because Mariano Rajoy’s position has been: “renounce the referendum, then we’ll talk.” There is no space for negotiation between those to positions.
What might have changed? Felipe VI. It is possible that the new King is using his influence to open up some political space for the Spanish PM. Rajoy can’t negotiate because the hardliners in the PP would revolt at any concession to the Catalans or even the hint of the legality of secession; but it is just possible that the new King could assuage the conservatives enough to allow Rajoy to open a dialogue with Mas which might allow them both to back away from the brink.
It remains to be seen if diehards on both sides would accept any compromise: it is hard to see Rajoy accepting the legality of a referendum that includes a question on independence, but it is equally hard to see Mas surviving an agreement on one that does not.
If he does agree to such a compromise, Rajoy might succeed in delaying the referendum past November 9th, but might have to deal with an ERC-led government thereafter.