Spain’s foreign minister Josep Borrell has blasted the Belgian judiciary, saying “there have always been problems” with regards to extradition cases. “They rejected the extradition of a member of ETA accused of blood crimes, who continues to quietly run a restaurant in a Flemish town,” he said on Tuesday. “With this background, Belgian justice probably has a different view of reality to the Spanish justice system” he added.

Speaking in Madrid, he avoided any self-criticism over the Belgian and German judiciaries’ motives for not extraditing pro-independence leaders wanted by Spain. According to Borrell, “sometimes the law is not an exact science” and in the case of Germany, “the court considers that there wasn’t enough violence” to justify the crime of rebellion, a decision the Spanish government “disagrees with, but accepts.” He was referring to the extradition case of Carles Puigdemont, who had been arrested in Germany in March.

These statements came a day after a Belgian court in Ghent rejected the extradition of rapper Valtònyc, sentenced to three and a half years in jail in Spain over some of his song lyrics.

Appeal against re-opening of Catalan delegations abroad

Borrell also announced that the Spanish executive will appeal against the reopening of Catalan “embassies” abroad over “the coming days.” The delegations were shut down by Spain’s previous People’s Party (PP) administration after the application of Article 155, stripping Catalonia of its self-rule. According to Borrell, the reason behind this appeal is that the government has “not complied with legal procedures completely.”

Borrell also said that Spain’s international image is “seriously damaged, above all in Europe and the Anglo Saxon world” by “propaganda” from the “Catalan pro-independence movement with the active support of the Generalitat’s institutions.”

He said that the Spanish government has “no other choice” but to appeal against the reopening of the delegations.

Spain’s image damaged because of Oct 1

Government spokeswoman Elsa Artadi responded to Borrell’s comments, saying that if Spain’s image is “damaged” at an international level, it’s because of its actions on October 1 last year during the independence referendum deemed illegal by the previous Spanish executive.

Artadi also highlighted that the government will continue with the reopening of the delegations abroad, regardless of the Spanish administration’s appeal announced by Borrell.