André Antoine, the president of the Parliament of Wallonia, one of the three self-governing regions of Belgium, has said this Thursday that it calls his attention, as a democrat, that a "political expression" should be judicialised, referring to the situation in Catalonia. "We also have parties that argue for independence, but we would never take them before a judge for that," he said.
Antoine made the comment to journalists in the corridors of the Parliament of Andalusia, where he was taking part in the plenary assembly of CALRE, the Conference of European Regional Legislative Assemblies.
The Walloon president wanted to be prudent with respect to events in Catalonia because he wants to "respect Spanish sovereignty". He also said that, in his opinion, and even with Catalan president Carles Puigdemont currently in his country, "it's a Spanish problem" and he discounted giving lessons to Spain about its constitutional laws.
Nonetheless, he argued that democracy has to push towards freedom of expression and the possibility for everyone to put projects on the table, "whether to increase autonomy or, why not, for independence". As such, he said, as a democrat, the judicialisation of "a political expression" calls his attention.
While respecting Spanish sovereignty, Antoine said that, in Belgium, politicians who appear in court do so "for problems of misuse of funds or corruption" and that, as such, he couldn't accept a politician being sent before a judge for their political ideas.
After clarifying that he doesn't know well enough all the constitutional precepts that can bring someone to the attention of the justice system, the president said he wanted dialogue, as happens in Belgium.