At press conference in Brussels the President of self-proclaimed Catalan Republic Carles Puigdemont said he accepted the snap elections in Catalonia, called by Spain’s central government, on condition the result would be accepted, and he also confirmed that he was not seeking asylum in Belgium, but he needs guarantees against criminalization of political activities for himself and the other politicians facing charges of Madrid prosecution.
Puigdemont raised an issue of politicizing the justice in Spain, and pointed that Spain’s state prosecutor, who interpreted the aspiration for freedom in charges for rebellion and sedition similar in the gravity of terroristic activities. The Catalan leader made it clear that he will not stay in EU capital longer than necessary to obtain guarantees from the Spanish government.
According to Puigdemont at present Catalan government works in two teams in Brussels, and in Barcelona under leadership of his deputy Oriol Junqueras i Vies, in spite of the fact the Madrid fired the entire political top of the Catalonia under article 155 of Constitution of Kingdom of Spain. The application of the article foreseen for violent riots caused criticism of Puigdemont, pointing that organising plebiscite has no correlation to the crimes mentioned in the invoked laws.
Puigdemont ensured that Catalan government will continue to conduct its work in peaceful way, and underlined that violence and chaos were exported from Spain, when riot police attacked the votes during voting process.
Puigdemont and his five ministers were received with an outstanding interest by Brussels press corps, however the small space of the Press Club could hardly host all those who wanted to assist the conference. There were approximately 250 journalist inside in a room for 50 seats and courtyard, and a crowd of 300 persons outside the building to follow the Catalan independence leader. The conference was given by Puigdemont in four languages: Catalan, Spanish, English and French, who with remarkable fluidity switched from one language to another.
While denying plans to ask for asylum in Belgium, Puigdemont described his voyage to Brussels as travel of a ‘European’ citizen, who enjoys the freedom of movement. He also mentioned a few times that he did not come to Belgium, but to Brussels as a capital of the EU, and he believes that the block will stand for its own values, namely freedom of expression.
Needless to say that it would be a catastrophe for the European project, if Puigdemont will ask political asylum in Brussels to flee from the EU democracy in search for protection.
The press-conference has an outstanding coverage of all major TV chains, radio station, and outlets worldwide. Image below: a few correspondent attending press briefing of the European Commission, while the entire press corps is at Press Club to hear Carles Puigdemont.