Former Catalan leader Puigdemont to address situation in Catalan parliament on Tuesday

Cheryl Sanders
January 22, 2018

Speaking at a debate on Catalonia at the University of Copenhagen, Puigdemont said: "We will not surrender to authoritarianism despite Madrid's threats".

Puigdemont, who is in Denmark on Monday to give a speech, potentially faces decades of jail in Spain for leading Catalonia's independence drive. He has been living in Brussels since he was sacked by Spain's central government, immediately after his regional administration declared independence from Spain.

Puigdemont appeared at the university after a Spanish judge refused to ask Danish authorities to arrest him.

The office of Spain's state prosecutor said Sunday it will move to reissue a European arrest warrant for the fugitive former leader of Catalonia if he leaves Belgium and enters Denmark as planned.

A Spanish Supreme Court judge had withdrawn the European-wide warrant in December, saying it would complicate the Spanish legal investigation and its removal would allow Spain to gain full control over the case.

The judge is not obliged to grant the prosecutor's request that the European Union warrant be reinstated.

Danish broadcaster TV2 released an image on its website of Puigdemont being surrounded by reporters after his plane landed in Copenhagen Airport.

Puigdemont is seeking to be back in charge of affairs in Catalonia even if it is from self-imposed exile in Belgium.

His comments came as Catalonia's new parliamentary speaker, Roger Torrent from the pro-independence ERC party, held talks with party representatives to pick a candidate for the regional presidency.

Puigdemont faces immediate arrest if he returns to Spain and, if he remains overseas, central authorities in Madrid said they will block any attempt he might make to be Catalonia's president.

Puigdemont's journey, which included attending a university debate and meeting Danish lawmakers, came almost three months after he was removed from office and fled to Belgium.

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