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"Spain is like Bosnia in the Nineties"

This is a statement that the Speaker of the Flemish Parliament, Jan Peumans (Flemish Nationalist Party), says he never made, but the words were put into his mouth by a Spanish journalist reporting on the opening of an exhibition on Catalonia's efforts to secure independence on show in the Flemish Parliament.

"I didn't compare Spain to Bosnia" says Mr Peumans.  “It's a filthy lie.  The Spanish foreign minister should get proper information."

It's believed that the words attributed to the Speaker pushed Spain over the edge on Tuesday as it decided no longer to recognise the Flemish government's official representative in Madrid.

Jan Peumans: "Nobody has reprimanded me so far.  By the way, Spain has no right so to do.  This is still a democracy.  In my country I say what I think."

"Let me repeat: it's unacceptable that politicians acting on the basis of their convictions are locked up in jail.  This is unworthy of a country where a state of law and order reigns."

"Every citizen has the right to visit our parliament.  That also goes for the ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont. He received no special treatment.  He simply attended the opening.  It's that that ruffled Madrid's feathers."