Spain’s Prime Minister has attracted criticism for declaring he is opposed to national borders, in an attack on U.S. President Donald Trump.
Responding to a question about Trump’s decision to suspend asylum seeker arrivals and visas for citizens of seven countries at a media appearance on Tuesday, Mariano Rajoy also insisted that the trend of countries taking control of their borders will go away.
“Well, I am not in favour of vetoes or borders nor do I believe the world will walk in that direction,” he said, stating: “So I hope that in the future that this will be fixed and we will all be in a situation of normality.
“I don’t believe in walls”, the People’s Party (PP) leader added, referring to the U.S. president’s plans for a physical border with Mexico.
Questioned on fences at Ceuta and Melilla, which protect Spain’s border with Morocco from millions of would-be migrants, Rajoy said: “Well, you see, those security measures have been installed for a long time.”
The prime minister’s comments were slammed by the president of VOX, a right wing, Christian democratic party created by former PP members, who argued that “a nation without borders is not a nation”.
“A leader who says he’s not in favour of borders is a leader who is not willing to defend his homeland”, Santiago Abascal said in a statement issued Tuesday.
The party, which is critical of multiculturalism and the left’s war on national and cultural identity in Europe, also cautioned the government against straining ties with the new U.S. administration, pointing out that Trump was chosen by the nation’s voters.
Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis also weighed in on the U.S. president’s new security measures, arguing that counter-terror measures should be done with “respect for the rule of law and human rights, without discrimination on the basis of nationality or religion.
Last week, Rajoy blasted populism, which he said “serves only to create poverty and division”, and warned that victory at the polls later this year for Alternative for Germany (AfD) or Marine Le Pen in France would be a “disaster” that would “destroy Europe”.