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The almost certain application of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution will involve the removal from office of Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and his whole executive. Given this situation, it hasn't taken long for voices to come out proposing even a government in exile, like CUP (Popular Unity Candidacy) deputy Mireia Boya, who suggested Perpignan.

Now some Belgian media, like the newspaper Le Soir and RTBF, the public broadcaster for Belgium's francophone community, have echoed a proposal (article from RTBF in French) from political scientist and professor at the Catholic University of Leuven, Bart Maddens. He has called for the Catalan government to move to Belgium if it has to leave Catalonia.

"Belgium would be an obvious choice, it's the country that's shown itself to be the most sympathetic towards the Catalan independence movement," he said. He emphasised that it's "one of the only countries" in the world and the "only European" one that has, through its prime minister Charles Michel, denounced the police violence seen during the 1st October referendum.

Translation: Belgium, land of refuge of the Catalan government in exile... Possible?

Maddens sees as being "hypocritical" the European Union's attitude towards the values of "the defence of fundamental rights, democracy and freedom of expression" that it claims to defend. "When these rights are flouted outside of Europe, the EU is the first to condemn it, but once it happens within its borders, she looks the other way".

The professor, a confirmed Flemish nationalist, is also reported to believe that "even if the referendum were illegal, it's legitimate". He believes that the Catalan government "had no other option" than to organise it in the face of the "lack of will to negotiate" from the Spanish state.

bart maddens   youtube

Bart Maddens. Image: Catalan Weekend / Youtube

He also criticised the PP (Popular Party) for taking the 2006 reformed Catalan Statute of Autonomy to the Constitutional Court, despite not believing PP to have much influence in Catalonia. Referring to the last general election, he notes that PP received 33% of votes in Spain, whilst they "only" got 13% in Catalonia.