CATALONIA’s jailed former vice president has said he hopes for “a new era of dialogue” between the Spanish and Catalan leaders following Thursday’s meeting between their two leaders.

Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish prime minister, and Catalan president Quim Torra met on Thursday – for the second time since both came to power – and while they still have differences over how to resolve the crisis, they agreed to meet again next month.

In an interview with Catalan public broadcaster TV3 from Lledoners prison, Oriol Junqueras, who leads the pro-independence Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), said he was confident the meeting would lead to further dialogue.

He said: “What this means, or that I hope, is that it enters into a new stage of dialogue between governments.

“Clearly, everyone knows that this conflict, which they now recognise, can only be resolved through the dialogue and through the polls, which show that more than 80% of Catalans are in favour of a [self-determination] referendum.”

One of the most powerful figures in Torra’s government – minister for the presidency and government spokesperson Elsa Artadi – who attended the Sanchez “mini summit”, said he had to move to dialogue from rhetoric.

She told Catalan public broadcaster TV3: “What we wanted to convey to Sanchez, is that he cannot remain at the level of rhetoric … we are here to work on this path of dialogue, which is our priority route, but to have dialogue we need two [sides].

“The chosen day and having to tie it up with the Council of Ministers was not ideal, however, we take advantage of any occasion, wherever we may be, because we also believe in the path of dialogue.

“We insisted that the two presidents cannot meet in July, they say they should have a continuity and we are five or six months without anything happening. This is not dialogue … we require a methodology or a recurrence in meetings, or start exchanging roles and teams who meet regularly ... He told us that it takes time, that things are complicated.”

Artadi said she was pleased at the joint statement issued after the mini-summit, which she said was a step forward.

“Never before had happened,” she said. “A joint communiqué with the recognition that the key here is the future of Catalonia, which must be decided by Catalan society, which must be a political solution. It is a step. A meeting of the two governments, which never happened in the 40 years of democracy, is also a step. And we understand that it may be a step forward to formalise that after the Christmas holidays there will be a meeting … and exchange of documents and start working to bring our positions a little closer.”

Meanwhile, one of the jailed pro-Catalan independence leaders, former MEP Raül Romeva, has written a book that will be published before their trials start in January. His book is called “Hope and Freedom” and he wrote it while in Madrid’s Estremera prison and Lledoners, north of Barcelona, where he is now incarcerated.

He told the Catalan News Agency (ACN): “It is a book of political thought, of reflections and proposals, also of many doubts, but at the same time of some certainty.

“I reflect on life in prison … I speak of the past, to contextualise feelings and reflections, to know where we are really, and a lot of the future, to know where we want to go and, above all, why we want to go.”