The Junts pel Sí government is determined to make the Catalan conflict a European affair. Accompanied by five of his ministers - Joaquim Forn, Toni Comín, Meritxell Serret, Dolors Bassa, Meritxell Borràs, Lluís Puig and Clara Ponsatí - and the three pro-independence MEPs, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont took the first step in this direction yesterday by holding a press conference in Brussels and in doing so became the current central figure of European political news.
Over 300 journalists gathered at the Press Club Brussels to find out why the Catalan leader is in the city. However, they did not receive answers about the planned duration of his stay or the actions to be carried out by his exiled government.
Puigdemont denied that he had come to Belgium to request political asylum and said that he and his colleagues would return to Catalonia “immediately” if the Spanish state guarantees them an “independent” trial. He accused the Spanish government of violating the principle of separation of powers and the state prosecutor of filing a lawsuit for political and non-legal reasons. According to Puigdemont, his government does not wish to “shirk” its responsibility before justice but will argue it as a political complaint and oppose it “from a political and non-legal position.” He did not, however, reveal details regarding what form this political defence will take.
Regarding the decision of the Catalan government not to oppose article 155 from Barcelona, Puigdemont argued that the government did not want to “force public officials” faithful to the Republic to take sides in order to prevent violence. He then said that the entire government will continue to use “maximum creativity to keep the Catalan institutions alive.”