Catalan independence leader Carles Puigdemont asked Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to meet “anywhere but Spain” – where arrest warrants are pending for him and four other members of his cabinet - following last night's election result.
The Belgian judge overseeing the extradition of sacked Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and four of his cabinet members intends to request clarifications from Spain over the charges laid against the fugitives, sources close to the case told EURACTIV.com.
Dismissed Catalan President Carles Puigdemont is not seeking political asylum in Belgium and will not return to Spain until he is guaranteed a fair trial, he told a packed news conference in Brussels’ European quarter on Tuesday (31 October).
While hundreds of thousands of Catalans took to the streets on Sunday (29 October) in favour of unity with Spain, the Catalan crisis provoked infighting in the Belgian coalition government after the Flemish nationalists offered asylum to Catalan president Carles Puigdemont.
Spain on Friday (27 October) sacked Catalonia’s regional government, dissolved the Catalan parliament and called a snap election in the region for 21 December, in a bid to draw a line under Spain’s worst political crisis in 40 years.
Spain is slipping into a major crisis, which is also bad news for the EU. The current showdown is hardly unexpected, especially when you’re unlucky enough to have extremists at the helm both in Barcelona and Madrid.
Madrid was poised on Friday (27 October) to seize control of Catalonia after the region's secessionist leader opted not to call regional elections, which had been seen as a way to ease Spain's worst political crisis in decades.
The leader of Spain's breakaway Catalonia region has asked to meet the Spanish prime minister, aiming to restore dialogue and avoid further escalation, but has not provided a clear answer on whether he would press ahead with independence.