Spain criticises Persson decision

There was more criticism this week of prime minister Göran Persson's decision not to attend the memorial service for the victims of the bombings in Madrid. Instead he sent a junior finance minister.

Last week the disapproval came from the opposition parties; this week it will have been considerably more embarrassing, coming as it did from Spain’s foreign minister, Ana Palacio.

Speaking on Swedish Television, she said, “We want to thank all the heads of state…who understood the importance of this symbolic event.”

Listing some of the illustrious attendees, such as Tony Blair, Colin Powell, Chancellor Schroeder and President Chirac, she pointedly commented, “I understand your prime minister had something more important to do.”

Persson was actually visiting a farm in Sörmland.