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King opens World Mobile Congress in Barcelona amid usual political tension

Torra (far right) stands next to King Felipe and Pedro Sánchez.
Torra (far right) stands next to King Felipe and Pedro Sánchez. / EFE
  • Catalan regional president and separatist, Quim Torra, avoided a public handshake and cut short his tour around the stands with the monarch and PM

The annual World Mobile Congress, seen as the most important mobile communications conference in the world, has been taking place this week in Barcelona, where it has been held since 2006.

Among the gleaming technology in the Catalan capital's large exhibition centre on Monday was the now-familiar scenario of the pro-independence head of Catalonia avoiding public contact with King Felipe during the opening celebrations.

As last year, Quim Torra didn't take part in the official greeting for the king the previous evening, instead shaking hands with the monarch behind closed doors and away from the cameras after the dinner.

This year the routine was further complicated as the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, had also travelled from Madrid for the opening.

The next day, Torra joined the official royal party as it began to tour the exhibition halls. However commentators noted that the Catalan regional president was absent by the time it came to a photo opportunity in front of the Spanish stand. Catalan officials said Torra had already told organisers that he had another meeting to go to.

Away from politics, media highlighted displays of foldable screens and 5G technology at the international trade fair.