Jambon wraps up Flemish mission in Barcelona with Catalan president visit

The Flemish mission to Barcelona ended on Sunday with a visit to Catalan president Pere Aragonès, focusing on technology, innovation and the creative industries. Despite disruptions caused by farmers' protests, Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon ultimately travelled to Barcelona to discuss cooperation in these areas with Aragonès.

During the mission, which officially lasted from Wednesday to Friday, discussions focused on technology, start-ups, innovation, digitalisation and creative industries. Political meetings, including one with the Catalan president, were on the agenda but were partly cancelled due to the farmers' protests. However, Aragonès rearranged his schedule to allow for a meeting on Sunday with Jambon, who was only able to travel to Barcelona on Friday.

Tech and innovation

Cooperation between the Flemish trade agency, FIT, and its Catalan counterpart, Acció and Tech Barcelona, was a key topic. Both regional government leaders expressed a clear desire to continue working together on innovation and technology. Topics discussed included creative industries, such as the Tomorrowland VR experience in Barcelona, and cybersecurity.

Political dynamics within Catalonia were also addressed, including debates over the controversial amnesty law, with Jambon expressing support for Catalonia's quest for autonomy while avoiding direct interference in Catalan-Spanish affairs. There are obvious political parallels between the two regions, with Jambon's Flemish nationalist party N-VA advocating greater autonomy for Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern region of Belgium.

Agriculture debate

Discussions also touched on environmental challenges, particularly in relation to agriculture. Jambon highlighted the challenges of drought and flooding in Flanders and referred to the Blue Deal, the Flemish government's plan to tackle water scarcity and drought. While land issues other than droughts are less prominent in Catalonia, concerns were raised about prices.

With Belgium holding the EU presidency, which has a Flemish component, discussions aimed to address agricultural pricing models at a European level.


#FlandersNewsService | Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon © BELGA PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT

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