The State Secretary for Asylum and Migration in Belgium considered that Belgium could grant asylum to the president who was dismissed from the regional government of Catalonia if Carles Puigdemont wanted to seek asylum.
“No request was made, but things are evolving fast. We will closely follow what happens in the next few hours and days” said Theo Francken, in an interview with VRT radio.
For the Francken, the asylum hypothesis is not “unrealistic”. “When we see the situation, the repression of Madrid and the prison sentences that you risk, we wonder if he [Puigdemont] will have a fair trial. Now, that would put us in a delicate diplomatic situation with Spain, “added Francken.
Belgium is one of the few members of the European Union where European citizens can apply for asylum. “A Belgian judge will have to decide. There is an asylum procedure. If he receives the asylum, it will be difficult to extradite him to Spain. Our law prevents it, “said Francken.
Belgium and Spain have gone through a similar situation in the 1990s and 2000s when the Belgians refused to extradite a Spanish couple with alleged links to the Basque extremist group ETA, reports Reuters.
The Belgian prime minister himself has been critical of some attitudes of the Madrid government. Regarding the October 1 referendum, Charles Michel was the first European leader to condemn violence. “Violence can never be the answer! We condemn all forms of violence and reaffirm our call for a political dialogue” .
— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) October 1, 2017