Mr. Puigdemont, together with a handful of members of his ousted cabinet, made his way to Brussels on Monday. The former leader of Catalonia said on Tuesday that he had traveled to Brussels to put Spain’s territorial conflict
“in the institutional heart of Europe” and to guarantee a fair trial for separatist leaders who declared the region’s independence. He also said and insisted they were not seeking asylum. After reading the charges proposed by the Spanish attorney general, Mr. Puigdemont said that he felt Catalan politicians would not be treated fairly by the Spanish judiciary.
Mr. Puigdemont in Brussels
Mr. Puigdemont and Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium said that the Catalan leaders had not consulted with the government in Brussels before traveling there, and the Belgian leadership ordered parties in the governing coalition on Monday night to avoid contact with Mr. Puigdemont and his delegation. Belgium’s migration minister, Theo Francken, a Flemish separatist, said over the weekend that Catalonia’s leaders were welcome to apply for asylum, but the government has since sought to distance itself from the Catalan delegation. “I don’t ask anything from Belgian politicians, except as part of European politics,” Mr. Puigdemont said. “To the international community and especially Europe, I ask them to react,” he added. Mr Puigdemont said he was not trying to escape justice but wanted to be able to speak freely.