Spain launches new bid to arrest exiled Carles Puigdemont

Puigdemont's visit to Denmark could help him avoid problems in Belgium, where European citizens can live without a residency permit for three months, after which they theoretically have to leave.

The prosecution service said it would "immediately" have a supreme court judge issue an arrest warrant for the secessionist leader, sacked by Madrid after the Catalan parliament declared independence on October 27, and urge Denmark to hand him over.

It came nearly three months after he was removed from office and fled to Belgium following Catalonia's declaration of independence.

The Spanish prosecution asked the Court to reinstate the European Union arrest warrant, as Puigdemont had arrived in Denmark to deliver a speech at the University of Copenhagen, the El Pais newspaper said.

Puigdemont is to take part in a debate on Catalonia at the University of Copenhagen later today.

It is the first time he has left Belgium since fleeing Spain about 80 days ago.

Junts Per Catalunya and ERC both support Puigdemont.

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Puigdemont became the top candidate to lead the wealthy northeastern region again after elections in Catalonia last month gave secessionists a slim majority.

Speaking in Brussels, Spain's foreign minister, Alfonso Dastis, said: "Mr Puigdemont is subject to a process in Spain".

The parliament was dissolved previous year by the government in Madrid after the body approved the region's unilateral independence.

Spain's state prosecutor is seeking his arrest in Denmark.

He also said he had written to the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, to ask for a meeting to discuss what he termed the "abnormal situation" in the regional parliament. He apparently travelled to the city to host a debate on Catalonia.

The following day he has been invited to the Danish Parliament by a Faeroese lawmaker, although leading members of the government and opposition have declined to meet him. He will be arrested the moment he sets foot on Spanish soil.

  • Stacy Houston