SPAIN’s new government is lifting its financial restrictions on the Catalan government – as imposed under direct rule – and has told the banks that it can once again make payments without authorisation from Madrid.

The decision was made at the first council of ministers meeting of the new government of Pedro Sanchez and came as a call was made for talks to begin with Catalonia.

Spanish government spokesperson and education minister Isabel Celaa said in a radio interview: “It is urgent to open a dialogue with Catalonia.”

She said the meeting with Catalan president Quim Torra would probably be held before the summer, but she stressed that the right to self-determination will stay “absolutely out of the discussion”.

“Obviously, Catalonia is one of our obligations to attend, it is urgent to open a dialogue with the constitution in one hand and dialogue… with Catalonia in the other,” she said.

“When people are transformed, attitudes change too, and suddenly, what did not exist, which are agreements, begin to exist. This government has the great objective of institutionally normalising this country. We come to normalise.”

Sanchez had promised to open a dialogue with Catalonia to gain support from its MPs to oust Mariano Rajoy.

However, Celaa said there were limitations on what could be discussed.

She ruled out calls to bring Catalan political prisoners – who are jailed in Madrid – closer to home, saying it was a matter for Pablo Llarena, the judge overseeing their cases.

Another hugely controversial topic under Madrid’s direct rule was the threat to the use of the Catalan language in schools.

Rajoy’s government wanted to offer parents the option of their children receiving 25% of their schooling in Spanish, but the idea was dropped after widespread outrage. Celaa said she recognised that the 1973 arrangement was a “sensitive matter” which had caused no problems until recently and added: “It is not necessary to break agreements but to build them.”

Exiled and ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, meanwhile, said that while he welcomed a potential meeting between Sanchez and Torra, he feared the Spanish prime minister had “generated expectations above reality”.

Speaking on Catalan radio, he said the pair should meet immediately.

However, Puigdemont said he regretted that, like Rajoy, Sanchez did not intend to negotiate an independence referendum, and added: “There has been no resignation of Rajoy’s policies.”

He said: “The [Torra] government owes its legitimacy to the polls and, in this new context, what is needed is that Pedro Sanchez now says what he wants to do for Catalonia.”

Puigdemont, leader of Together for Catalonia (JxCat), was also critical of Ines Arrimadas, leader of the opposition Ciutadans (Citizens) Party, whom he described as “irresponsible”, for yesterday refusing to meet Torra until the Catalan government removed from a balcony a yellow ribbon that signifies solidarity with jailed or exiled Catalan politicians.

Following the controversy over publication of a video of three former ministers – Oriol Junqueras, Raul Romeva and Joaquim Forn – inside Estremera prison, Puigdemont, who was arrested in Germany, said a video of him inside jail had been circulating in Spain.

He said it had been recorded while he was exercising and wearing the prison clothing he had been given.

However, it had not come to light because, although it had been circulated to a number of Spanish media outlets, “nobody paid the price they would be asking”.

He told RAC1 that he had no desire to see the video of his incarcerated colleagues.

“I did not want to see the video. I do not want to contribute to the denigration it seeks.”