Carles Puigdemont speaks during the press conference on Wednesday, December 6 in Brussels
The dismissed Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, said on Wednesday that „for the moment“ will continue in Belgium, a day after the Spanish justice withdrew his extradition request.
„For the moment, we are staying here,“ Puigdemont said at a press conference at the Husa Presidente Park hotel in Brussels, accompanied by the four members of his dismissed government present in Belgium and on behalf of his defense lawyers.
The Catalan leader, also a candidate for the regional elections on 21 December for ‚Junts per Catalunya‘, was accompanied by Catalan ex-councilors Antoni Comín, Meritxell Serret, Lluís Puig and Clara Ponsatí.
In case of victory of the independence forces in the elections, Puidemont hinted that they could return. „We must return,“ he said.
The Catalan leaders left Spain after the Spanish government took control at the end of October of the Catalan autonomy after a unilateral declaration of independence by the regional Parliament.
In early November, the Spanish justice issued a euroorden against the five, accused of rebellion and sedition, although last Tuesday a judge of the Supreme Court decided to withdraw it 11 days before the Belgian court decided on extradition.
The request for the withdrawal of the euroorden meant the annulment of the precautionary measures imposed on Catalan politicians by the Belgian courts, where they can continue to reside.
However, the charges against them are still valid in Spain, where four independence leaders remain in prison and seven others are released on bail.
With the decision to withdraw the delivery mandate, Judge Pablo Llarena sought to prevent the Belgian justice from restricting the crimes attributable to Puigdemont and his companions, which would generate „a distortion“ in relation to the rest of the pro-independence leaders investigated.