Quim Torra and Jan Jambon met at the Palau de la Generalitat.
The leaders of Catalonia and Flanders

The president of the Government of Catalonia, Quim Torra, and the minister-president of Flanders, Jan Jambon, have called for the Catalan political conflict to be addressed “through negotiation and the ballot box and not through the courts”. During a working meeting this morning at the Palau de la Generalitat, the two leaders discussed the political situation of Catalonia in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling and collaboration between the two territories. In a joint statement after the meeting, the two heads of government said: “A referendum like the one held in Scotland and the idea of peaceful self-determination should form the basis for a political solution in Catalonia.”

In their joint appearance before the media, the two leaders applauded a resolution calling for the release of the political prisoners that was passed unanimously by the Parliament of Flanders in October. They also called on the European Union “to establish a mechanism for the integration of new states created within the Union by democratic means”.

The Catalan president said that “democracy is the path to freedom” and that the democratic rights of a people in the 21st-century must include “the right to self-determination – always giving the people a voice”.

He concluded by thanking his Flemish counterpart for his “solidarity in standing against the persecution of political ideas and people” by Spanish institutions. Torra said: “The exiles are in a good place. We’re very grateful for the welcome that President Puigdemont, the ministers and other Catalans who have sought justice and safety in Flanders have received.”

Minister-President Jambon urged Catalans to remain resolute to overcome the challenges they face and build a political project for the future. “Flanders wants to work with Catalonia to make Europe more transparent and democratic,” he said.