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Catalan president in exile Carles Puigdemont has called on the European Union and, specifically, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, as the only one who has spoken "respectfully" on the matter, to get involved in the issue of Catalonia. In an interview with Belgian public radio RTBF, the president said that "the European institutions don't support the Catalan cause".

"It's clear. The European Union, the European institutions don't support the Catalan cause. My disappointment isn't over the question of independence, but over the question of basic rights," he said. "It's a European matter, now. Everyone realises it's not only a domestic matter, because it concerns fundamental rights," he added.

In fact, Puigdemont, this very week, had already proposed European mediation led by Tusk as a way to solve the conflict between Catalonia and the Spanish state: "He's the only one who's spoken in a very correct way".

The president also said that he's always thought, not of moving to Belgium as a country, but to Brussels as "the capital of Europe" and home to many of the key EU institutions. He said that his time in other European cities over the last few months has allowed him to spread his message around the continent.

Puigdemont repeated that his intention is to return to Catalonia, but that currently "there aren't the conditions" in place he would want to do so.

Asked about the candidacy of former French prime minister Manuel Valls for mayor of Barcelona (Valls was born in the Catalan city), Puigdemont said he has the right to stand in the election, although it's "strange" for someone "who doesn't know at all the reality of Barcelona or the needs of her people".