The acting prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, held a meeting with leaders of rival political parties at his La Moncloa residence on Wednesday night to discuss the Catalan violence and find consensus on a common response from Madrid.
With an eye on next month's general election, all parties were keen to set out their differing position this week, making agreement difficult.
Ciudadanos and the Partido Popular (PP) both called for Sánchez to suspend part of Catalonia's devolved powers again under Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, as a way of more effectively controlling the violence, they said.
Sánchez disagreed, favouring a calmer approach. "We are going to be serene and firm. We'll shape our response according to the attitude of the political leaders in the Catalan regional government."
Meanwhile, there was evidence of internal disagreement on how to react to the violence within the ruling separatist coalition in Catalonia. Although regional president, Quim Torra, did eventually make a short statement against the riots late on Wednesday, blaming the violence on "infiltrators", others in his own government wanted a much firmer condemnation of the week's protests.