On November 16, Minister-President Jambon paid a working visit to Barcelona. The main reason for this was the participation in the “Smart City Expo World Congress”, which was held for the tenth time in the Catalan capital.
Minister-President Jambon was one of the speakers at the opening session of this three-day international event. “Data can be the new gold if we unlock it and as data enable us to make better decisions and develop new services,” said the Minister-President. After him, Jordi Puigneró, vice president of the Catalan government, assured that “citizens can be made happier with smarter cities”. There was great interest in this conference from both the Flemish and Catalan side.
Subsequently, the Minister-President paid a working visit to the Catalan EURECAT, the institution that unites all Catalan research institutions. Afterwards, there was a broad consultation with Vice President Puigneró and his policy team, covering themes such as digital citizenship, cyber-security, giving citizens back control over their data, blockchain, data utilities and digital economy. These themes will undoubtedly also be included in the new work program 2022 – 2024 that Flanders and Catalonia will elaborate.
The Minister-President also met with the convicted Catalan politicians and representatives of civil society. They appreciate the support they receive from Flanders. Not only from the Flemish Parliament, which unanimously condemned the disproportionate sentences in a resolution, but also from hundreds of Flemish letter writers. They also expressed concern about the more than 3,000 people still facing a conviction from the Spanish court. Minister-President Jambon stated that he finds it unacceptable, in 21st century Europe, that people are locked up for peaceful actions.
Also on the agenda was a meeting with potential Catalan investors.
© BELGA Photo Nicolas Maeterlinck