Belgian-Spanish relations strained over Catalonia

The Catalonia crisis is ratcheting up tensions between Spain and Belgium, where it is front page news.

They have been stoked by comments from Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon, a member of the Flemish nationalist and separatist N-VA party. Jambon has criticised Madrid, saying it has gone too far.

In response, Esteban González Pons, from the Spanish Popular Party, said: “He belongs to a party that was a collaborationist party with the German occupation during World War 2. It’s a xenophobic party, it’s a very complicated party, it’s not a recommendable partner for anyone.”

Ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, along with four associates, will go before a Belgian court later this month over an arrest warrant Spain’s issued against them.

Puigdemont has said the Spanish authorities have become politicised.

“This is up to the judge to decide; this is not something where political parties intervene,” commented Mark Demesmaeker, from the Belgian N-VA party.

“We have a judicial system which is independent, unlike the Spanish system which is highly politicised.”

Meanwhile, former Belgian Prime Minister Alio di Ruppo has tweeted that Puigdemont abused his position, but also says that Spain’s Prime Minister has behaved like an authoritarian Franchist.

It doesn’t bode well for Belgian-Spanish relations, as the EU battles to hold itself together.
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