Flemish PM Jan Jambon: "The EU should take more initiative in the Catalonia issue"
Jan Jambon (Flemish nationalist) is currently on a visit to Catalonia, the region in north-eastern Spain where a number of nationalist politicians have been convicted and sent to jail. Mr Jambon had a message for the new EU President Charles Michel: he wants Europe to take more initiative in the Catalonia independence issue.
"The president of Catalonia and the Flemish PM have strengthened the ties between both nations at an official meeting in Barcelona", a joint statement by Jambon and Quim Torra said.
Catalonia may be striving for independence, the central government in Madrid is not really happy about this and has responded firmly. Some Catalan politicians even ended up behind bars after trying to organise a referendum about independence. Jambon and Torra want those prisoners to be liberated and demand that the issue be solved using "political dialogue".
In this respect, Jan Jambon thinks that the EU should play a more prominent role. He is counting on both Charles Michel and another Belgian, the new Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, to put this on the agenda. "We will be celebrating Christmas soon while there are people behind bars because of their public opinion. This is unacceptable in Europe." However, the EU retorts that Catalonia is an "internal Spanish issue".